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By Rika Lefcourt
((I actually have no date in my IC file, the time was shortly after midnight; it must have been before the dogs were let out; short summary of what happened so far: Rika was in the library, when she left Lance caught her and they eventually ran into Dresy, on the way back to the library, because Lance insisted on escorting them around, they ended up talking about the mysterious serial killer.))

Ulrich's stance was finally changing. Still, initially it was a bit surprising. He was a Ravenclaw after all, wasn't he? And Ravenclaws pursued knowledge and the truth, correct? Evidence was important, yes, but this wasn't about factual evidence, at least not yet. It was about a different course of investigation. Not to mention that the vampire idea made more sense than all other concepts so far. Thus Ulrich's initial position was a bit strange to her ears.

Luckily professor Faust wasn't as eager to dismiss the notion right away. It seemed that he was actually supportive of it. More surprisingly was that he had done his own research and thought process concerning this very idea. How curious.

“As far as I remember, really old vampires are hard to find. They know how to keep out of sight, otherwise they wouldn't have gotten so old.” Vampires would not only have enemies among humans, both wizards and muggles alike, but probably even among other vampires. Power had this effect she knew.

“There is one thing,” she said, “that I learned from my grandfather, who was an avid hunter, and that is that if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

It was somewhat amusing to refer to her grandfather as an avid hunter, though it was also the truth. The thing was, her grandfather usually had never hunted the way humans would.

“Of course, what we need now is more evidence, but that duck is certainly quacking.”

Facing the library door, Rika suddenly felt the fine hairs on the back of her neck rise. Her kind responded faster and easier to changes in the environment, though there had been muggles who noted changes in temperature or even humidity in the presence of...

“Oh, you're always so smart, aren't you?” The voice was clearly that of a girl, however it sounded hollow and disembodied.
Ducks and quacking. Well, then. Samael understood Rika's point. It was clear. If something seemed like it was something, it most likely was that something. However, in this case they had to gain the other three points of confirmation. Samael could give these two those other points, though there were no vampires here. No, his master was something far darker and far more dangerous than a mere vampire. Even the oldest and wisest of those tended to forego the artistry his master displayed on a regular basis with his kills. Even the oldest and wisest of those did not have such a resume as his master, claiming multiple titles for the serial killing sprees he had had throughout the ages. No, his master was unique, far from a Vampire but also far different from his own kind. The latter was hardly anything he'd had confirmed, but Samael couldn't help but believe it was true. Otherwise, they would have had far worse wars taught in the History of Magic course. The Goblin Wars would have seemed like child's play.

The sound of another female voice caused Samael to turn in its direction, wand drawn. However, he quickly lowered the lit wand as he registered what he was seeing. A pale, floating creature. Ghost. Only, this ghost he had not seen before...at least not as a ghost. He recognized this girl... It was hard not to with her distinct look, though now pale and white, that had separated her from the other Ravenclaws her year. She had been a lively one when she had lived. Two years and a month ago, give or take. She had been one of the casualties of the Battle of Hogwarts, had she not? "Hello, Lex," Samael greeted in a clipped tone. What had caused her to come out of the woodwork? he wondered, though he had a feeling he wouldn't have to wonder for long. He only hoped she hadn't been witness to one of his and his master's meetings.
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By Dresden Faust
He continued to listen intently to the pair that was walking with him. The theories that were being passed about were absolutely intriguing, even more so since it appeared that Rika had been thinking along the same lines as himself and she was correct in her statement… everything was pointing toward a vampire or something vampiric in nature. Evidence was definitely something that they need to gather more of. If they could just find that missing piece…

The sound of another voice caused the professor to turn. Unlike young Ulric, Dresden hadn’t even thought to draw his wand though it appeared unnecessary since the owner of said vice was belonged to none other than a Hogwarts ghost. A ghost that he didn’t immediately recognize… odd… Dres had figured after two years he’d met most, if not all of the ghosts that called Hogwarts home. At any rate it seemed like Ulric knew who she was, though the clipped tone the guard gave his greeting in had Dres raising a brow. Curious… perhaps they had been student together? He looked to Rika to see if she knew the ghost as well.

{occ: ok bad post is bad but next one will be better... I'm strugglin with Dresy boy}
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By Rika Lefcourt
She said nothing. She knew the voice, had heard it often enough just a few years ago. She had also heard of the owner's demise during the attack on Hogwarts. Ulrich then confirmed what she already knew. Alexandra Arnold, known to everyone as Lex, had turned into a ghost upon her death and was now roving around near the library, which, given that she used to be a Ravenclaw, was quite fitting.

Still, why was she appearing right now? Had she seen something or was she just out to taunt her like back in the days?

Whatever the case, Rika finally faced the ghost. “Hello Lex. Looking a bit... pale.”

Admittedly, it was rare for the professor to react like that, but she and Lex had parted hardly on good terms. In fact, at one point Lex had attacked Rika physically and had received a fittingly large can of ass whoop.

Funnily enough, the two shared something other than Ravenclaw. Neither Lex nor Rika had ever been swooning over the handsome Mister Ulrich, unlike many other girls. It was somewhat amusing, really.

Though, the question remained, what was it the ghost wanted?

“Always so funny,” Lex hissed. “Surprised nobody killed you yet.”
Rika shrugged. “Oh, they tried, but you know, cats and nine lives.” It felt like an oddly fitting jape.
“Why are you here?”
“Wrong. The correct question is why are you here?”

The professor knew the implications and requirements for one to become a ghost upon death. That Lex would have gone for staying was a bit odd. It made no sense. Why would she linger?

The ghost looked at Ulrich. “I was murdered, that's why.”
Samael listened to his former house mates tiny row but said nothing. It seemed that even in death, some things never changed. The two would eternally hate each other. It was just a fact of life, and there was no use in interjecting to tell them to be quiet. The comment from Rika, however, was added to Samael's list of strange things about Rika Lefcourt, particularly of interest simply because there was a different smell to her than the other humans that he'd noticed upon encountering her tonight. Of course, as with other smells, his nose had since adjusted, but if he took a moment to focus, it was still there.

When Lex looked at him, Samael returned her gaze. "Murdered?" he repeated. It hardly surprised him. Plenty of children had been murdered the night of the attack on Hogwarts. The Death Eaters had been no discriminator of age. "Yes, but that still is not why. That is, it's not the why that interests me. You've been dead three years and change, Lex. Rika," he saw no need to use "Professor Lefcourt" when with two professors and a ghost, "has been here a few months of that, and I'm certain she's approached the library before, so it's not to antagonize her. Is there something you have to tell us?"
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By Rika Lefcourt
Professor Lefcourt crossed her arms in front of her chest. Mister Ulrich's use of her given name was acceptable, after all they had been in Ravenclaw together. Though, she surely hoped that it would not turn into a habit.

Lex rolled her eyes. “First of all, it's not a vampire. Close, but not close enough. And yes, I've seen it, once.” She chose not to elaborate on it further, because, even though she was dead, the thing scared her.

Rika's brows furrowed. A vampire, or something similar or close to it, that was what they had been discussing anyway. Even in death Lex seemed to be desperate for being right. Death, despite being permanent, didn't change people's personalities. “And secondly?”

There was a moment of hesitation in the ghost's reaction. It clearly made her feel uncomfortable. “I want to know... did they catch who killed me?”

That was odd Rika concluded. “Do you know who killed you?”

“William Travis. I saw him. He was not a squib. He lied.”
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By Samael Nachtweber
Samael felt his heart race as Lex said she'd seen the killer. She knew enough to know vampire was close enough but not the reality. Had she connected the dots any further? Could she reveal any hiding spots? Granted, Lex had no reason to lie. She'd seen it once. She was no threat. Samael looked toward Professor Faust only to realize he had gone off. Where to? Perhaps he should go look for him and shepherd him back to their little herd, but he didn't feel inclined. The sudden appearance of Lex's ghost was much more interesting than finding a professor who had gone off into the library. And honestly, it probably wouldn't be a bad thing if his master killed the professor. He and his strange little friend were the sort of fools who together could cause problems for them.

At Lex's secondly, Samael simply rose a brow, ready for the ghost to go on. What was with the hesitation? Whatever it was couldn't be that bad, could it? Ah, but it was something that any lingering humanity would make difficult to speak of. Did they catch the person who killed her? Good question, though with a likely answer of "no." It was unlikely the Order had killed her, which left only people amongst his own ranks. Clearly, unless the person was a little peon, the person was still "on the loose." Rika asked the question that they both apparently had been wondering, and Samael inclined his head to listen. "William Travis"--not a squib. So, a spy. The question was whether or not he was a dispensable spy or someone under the Imperius.

Samael remembered the bloke. Quiet, kept to himself. The sort of groundskeeper Filch had not been. Sure, he raised hell if someone made a mess, but since he did not make a mess, he did not have anything to worry about from Travis. "I don't believe they did," Samael replied. He surely would have remembered if the former groundskeeper's name had shown up in the Daily Prophet. It would have been one of the few things that would have caught his interest at the time.
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By Rika Lefcourt
Professor Lefcourt listened calmly. It was wiser to maintain distance, both physical and emotional, after all death could be a traumatic experience for a human, especially for someone as young as Lex. Yet the girl, the ghost, seemed to be very focused and spot on, albeit a bit hesitant. It would make sense. She had probably kept out of sight for most of the time, avoided everyone, including other ghosts. Maybe the fact that Rika had been together with Ulrich had lured her out? Two Ravenclaws who Lex had been somewhat familiar with?

Speculation, yes, but possible nevertheless.

Then her brows furrowed. While Ulrich was answering Lex's inquiry about her killer, Rika had time to let what the ghost had said sink in.

William Travis.

She felt something rising inside. What was that? Anger? It had to be and it was. But not anger about Lex's death. People died, that was a lesson Rika had learned and understood already. No, it was a different from of anger. Not one born out of loss or injustice. It was the type of anger that appears upon realization that one had been played and misled.

William Travis.

He had been sitting in her office in Lefcourt Castle. Right opposite to her. It would have been easy to take him out right then and there. She had had the advantage.

So she did the one thing she could do. She let it free.

Rika fell back into her native language. Letting go a Japanese swear word she reached for the suit of armor on its display stand right next to her and knocked it over.

“I'm going to fucking kill him!” professor Lefcourt yelled in Japanese.
Samael had expected a great many things when he had given his response, but an outburst from Rika Lefcourt was certainly not one of them. Rika Lefcourt wasn't a perfect little angel, most assuredly. She was prone to outbursts on occasion, but she was not prone to emotional outbursts. There was a difference between the outburst toward Jack Halden and the outburst just now. The prior had been something justified in her mind. He'd touched her bow, which was apparently disrespectful. This? This was nothing short of an emotional outburst, and he was almost tempted to applaud her for feeling so acutely or to comment that he didn't know she had cared so much for Lex. The two had always squabbled. Perhaps it was their way of showing affection. Was that why neither had shown attraction? Samael dismissed the line of thought as it had little bearing here.

Still, he couldn't simply ignore her emotional outburst. He needed to make it clear he wanted English, so he replied in German, "I don't understand you." If he didn't, their little ghost girl certainly didn't either. She had, as far as he knew, never been out of the country and did not even have a second language.

Frankly, Samael was torn on how to feel and how to respond beyond what he already had. He had liked Lex. She had been intelligent, though stubborn. She was someone he could stand to be around and despite his womanizing ways as a Hogwarts student, he certainly had come to leave her alone in that way. He had almost respected her, even, despite the annoyance he had felt toward her at times. At the same time, he was a Death Eater. Travis had been one of his own, most likely, and from the sound of it, he had been higher up as he had never been found dead or imprisoned. Killing someone silently had never been a trademark Death Eater move. Someone was always used as an example.

It still could have happened. After all, he was still relatively green in their ranks. Either way, Travis had done what any Death Eater would have done in circumstances that revealed them: he killed to prevent the word from getting out. It would not have been good for the takeover and the hard work put into trying to convince as many people as possible it had been an act of "terrorism" by some other group.

"I haven't seen Travis since that night, however. It doesn't mean he wasn't done in." It was neutral. It stated potential outcomes. It didn't betray what he was. In fact, it was perfectly aligned with the boy from Hogwarts.
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By Dresden Faust
Dresden listened to the back and forth as the trio continued on, preferring to remain silent rather than interject since he was almost clueless on the current topic at hand. A the very least the professor figured he would learn more by staying silent than not, and already that was proving to be a wise decision. The ghost Lex was apparently a classmate of his current companions. Someone who had been murdered, presumably during the Death Eater takeover, and she seemed to know what they were chasing was similar to a vampire. Though she seemed to be stuck at the same dead end they were all currently at: if not a vampire then what?

But perhaps the most interesting tid-bit of information was that the ghost knew her killer and that both Rika and Lance did as well. Had the man situated himself in Hogwarts as a Death Eater spy? Logical judging by how the conversation was flowing. The outburst from his fellow professor was unexpected, as was the emotion and rage behind it. Even if he couldn’t understand what she’d said it was clear that whatever she’d pieced together had an effect on her. And the poor suit of armor took the brunt of it.

Lance’s quip in German did bring a smirk to his face and he was tempted to chide the young guard for it. There was need to antagonize Rika further. Second languages, or more than likely first for all of them, were so easy to fall back into. But still, why would this William Travis have sparked such a reaction from Rika?

”Who is this Travis you keep going on about?” he asked in the off chance they would deem it worth filling him in on.
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By Rika Lefcourt
“William Travis,” Rika began to explain for professor Faust, “was the janitor here a few years ago. He was also a squib.” After that she laughed without the slightest sign of humor.

After giving the helmet on the ground a kick that sent it down the hall, the professor turned back to face them. “But Mister Ulrich, you have seen him. Everyone of you has seen him numerous times. Heard him, too. He was very active after his little interim position here at Hogwarts. I would say he made quite the career afterwards.”

Knowing well that speaking in riddles wasn't going to lead to anything other than more confusion, Rika finally dropped the bomb.

“William Travis is Trevor Williams. Or better said... Trevor Williams is William Travis.”

The thought made her angry again. The bastard had played her, sort of. There was no way she would have ever agreed had she known that Williams, their so called lord, was really just nothing else than another coldblooded murderer. Yes, there were times when violence and killing someone were inevitable, but a Death Eater against a student? That wasn't fighting, that wasn't killing in self defense, that was outright murder.

“I had him,” Rika said. “He was right there, sitting on the other side of my desk trying to blackmail me into helping him.” She threw her arms in the air. “I could have ended it there.” The professor sighed.

“Son of a bitch!” If she ever saw him again... he would not get away.
Samael wanted to tell Rika to speak plainly. She was talking in riddles. She knew very well what her thought was, but she was leading up to it like they were in some sort of program on the wireless. Merlin, those shows had always annoyed him. Mystery stories were the most blatant infringers, even if they would have otherwise been something he would term his "favorite" type. Perhaps he shouldn't be so easily swayed, but he had been, and now, he didn't have time to listen to such frivolous things as wireless programs. Tangent aside, Samael refrained from telling her such simply for fear she might only prolong it because her thoughts were derailed and instead found himself standing with weight on one leg and arms crossed. Rika wasn't someone he knew to ramble, but it was better safe than sorry.

When Rika finally got to the point, Samael rose a brow, the only evidence of his surprise. It truly wasn't a surprise, however. Hadn't there been that one Death Eater who had taken on another identity many years ago? Someone...a Minister's son masquerading as someone else or something? He didn't remember the details. It was something his father likely mentioned in passing once upon a time. You did what you had to survive or to set up a plan and ensure your own could get inside. The school had been an Order stronghold for years. It was no wonder Williams had infiltrated, and if Lex had discovered his true identity, she'd had to die. It wasn't coldblooded murder. It was a necessary, calculated kill for sake of self-preservation.

"Ended it there, indeed," Samael replied, "but to what end and what point? It's not like Williams was the first and only to do whatever was necessary to save his own arse." He then quickly tacked on, "No offense," with a look and motion to Lex. The others may be able to be bribed so long as she posed no threat to the government itself, but it would still have been a hassle, and just like anyone out there, there would be some who had idolized him, some of whom may have been incompetent but others of whom could have been very competent. Though competency didn't always factor into deadliness when someone was angry enough.
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By Dresden Faust
Dresden looked at Rika as he tried to figure out why her revelation about the William Travis/Trevor Williams thing was so ground breaking. So he was the Lord and head of the Death Eaters… and it seemed like the man had killed in order for his plans to takeover to succeed and Rika’s friend? Had got caught up in the crossfire. To the professor it was nothing special. Many men that desired power would kill to get it. To the professor it was obvious that this Lexi had stumbled upon something that made her a threat and a loose end.

What was even more intriguing, were the words that followed. The Lord of the land had tried blackmailing her into doing something for him? Was that why she was helping the guard investigating. Then there was the comment about ending it there… was she going to simply kill the most powerful man in the UK? And for what? Revenge for a friend?

Dresden shifted his weight slightly and decided he didn’t like where this conversation was heading. Speculation of vampires and other dark creatures was fine, but when it came to matters involving Williams, well, that was treading to close to the line. Clearly he was missing something. Ulric didn’t seem all that surprised by Rika’s revelation judging by the raised brow which made things even more confusing for the professor. For the moment he chose to remain silent and hope the two with him would offer some more pieces of the puzzle that had not so conveniently fallen in his lap.
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By Rika Lefcourt
“Of course,” Lex said, “none taken, minion.” That Lance was working for the guard and thus, ultimately, for the man who had murdered her was quite impossible to not notice at some point. But then the ghost focused on Rika. “That is kind of funny. Miss Super Smart gets played. Twice, by the same guy! Ha!” Her laughter sounded hollow, but such were the side effects of being a ghost.

Professor Lefcourt chose to ignore them for a second or two. She closed her eyes. Breath in, one, two, hold, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, breath out, nine, ten.

“I get it,” she finally said, her voice maybe a bit too calm. “He had to protect his cover to finish his mission. Happens all the time.” A while ago thinking like that had made her feel uncomfortable, but at this point it seemed that the game was the same everywhere. It almost seemed as if she had accepted that fact. Another thing was that Williams having killed someone wasn't really surprising. This, too, was part of the game. She had done it herself.

Still, the problem remained that he had basically played her, or at least tried to and that, combined with the blackmailing, didn't sit all too well with her. Lex be damned, they had never gotten along anyway, this was way beyond any concern for a former classmate.

No, it made no sense. This was Lex. Lex was a bitch, had always been one. So what if Williams had killed her? That was Lex's problem, not hers. Rika's problem was a different one. Another strange emotional outburst.

“Apologies,” she said quickly. “I seem to be somewhat... irritable as of late.”

The ghost narrowed her eyes at the professor. “Wait, you...” she trailed off.
“You don't know.”
“Know what?”

Then Lex began laughing. It was loud enough to wake up several of the paintings in the corridor. Without an explanation or even a hint Lex Arnold stepped into the wall.
The exchange between Rika and Lex was odd, to say the least. Samael arched a brow as the ghost girl began to laugh before disappearing and looked to Rika. Did this have any meaning to her? Any whatsoever? Because it certainly didn't to Samael. Many things could make a person irritable. Health problems, for instance. Or stress. Having been sent here by Williams and being around a murderer for a while now would certainly stress almost anyone out. Almost everyone here was irritable enough it wasn't something that would make anyone say, "You don't know," to another person.

"Well, that was...odd," Samael said, a mere statement of fact. "What do you say we get Professor Faust his book and then get you both back to your quarters?" He was tired of interacting with people at the moment. Tonight thus far had been more than what he had bargained for when he'd found Rika. He didn't want to stand here and wait for it to become more "interesting." There were more interesting things one could do as a guard here at night--particularly as a guard who had knowledge of the killer's identity and species and new capabilities to explore. "Tonight has been full of enough surprises without our resident murderer."

((Oopsie. Didn't realize it was my turn. Sorry!))
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