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by: Charon Nachtweber
5 Feb 2012
6:25 pm

(OOC I don't remember the other dates from the actual previous thread, so roll with me)

The locker room on the Quidditch pitch was a disaster area. Gore was smeared on the walls and on all the lockers save one. A corpse, denuded of its skin, was crucified on the wall opposite the unbesmirched locker. A buzzing and pulsing thump emanates from the corpse's torso, causing an incision wound to slightly flutter. A brief flash of gold can now and again be seen in the incision.

Inside the untainted locker are the a watch on a chain, a heart, and the neatly folded uniform of the student Addison Mitchell, left here from her previous match. The heart is nestled on top of the folded clothing and the watch hangs from a hook in the locker. Painted in blood on the inside of the locker is a message and a riddle.

Tick tock here's the clock, but where is the boy who held it? Tock tick his blood is thick in the tower where I spilled it. Tick tock the other too but only one will live. Tock tick the child in the dungeon will hopefully forgive. Tick tock come alone or both will surely pay. Tock tick you have ten minutes left to play.
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by: Markus von Wolfram
The pair hadn’t been searching the area by the Forbidden Forest for long when a shout echoed across the pitch. Markus snapped his head in the direction of the locker rooms before casting a quick glance back at Lance. It was obvious to the captain that the two guards he’d sent to search out the area had found the student they had all been looking for. He let out a soft sigh before heading off at a brisk pace toward the lockers and assumed Lance would follow.

It didn’t take them long to reach the locker room. With as many gruesome killings as he’d seen over the past month Markus thought he was prepared for whatever the killer was going to throw at him next. Boy was he wrong. The stench that hit his nose as he entered the Slytherin locker room was enough to make his stomach churn and he had to force himself to keep going. The site that greeted him was straight out of a horror movie. Seemed the killer had upped his game.

Markus wasted no time in summoning his patronus and sent it off with a short clipped message to senior members of the guard to get investigations out to the pitch, and then to Anne to keep her updated on the double murder.

Once that was done the captain turned his attention to his more immediate surroundings. Kids were always hard. Maybe it was because he had two of his own, maybe it was because she had her whole life ahead of her and it was simply snuffed away in the name of a macabre game… There was no reason the girl should have been a target, no reason for anyone to have been a target really.

The glint of gold caught the captain’s eye first. Closer inspection of the body revealed the glint to be a snitch buried in the chest cavity where her heart should have been. Markus barely supressed a shudder . A few pokes with his wand and the snitch broke free of its trappings and shot off towards the lockers. It was only then that he realized that there was one locker untouched by all the chaos in the room. Odd… Another clue in the killer’s game perhaps? The younger Slytherin had mentioned something about a heart…. Her missing heart perhaps?

Markus moved over to said locker and opened it without much preamble. His eyes immediately settled on the heart sitting in such a way that it looked like it was supposed to belong on the pile of folded clothing. Further inspection revealed a poem written in Addison’s blood, which he read quickly, and a pocket watch, which he thought was rather out of place and not something a student would carry around…. He reached in and pulled the watch out. Only then did he realize the watch wasn’t hers… it was his… the same watch he had given to Eric weeks ago and had never got around to retrieving…

Markus paled considerably as he fought to reign in the rising panic. The killer had his kid… no wait, both his kids?! The captian shoved the watch into his pocket without thinking and dove back into the locker, etching every word of the god-forsaken writing into his brain. Blood spilled in the tower… Toff… but was he too late? Judging from the way it was written it seemed that way but there was still hope for the one in the dungeon… his youngest was still alive? And come alone… But go where?

He backed away from the locker and ran a shaky hand through his hair before turning to Lance. ”Go find investigations and get them here to clean up this mess… I’ll be back in a few minutes….” The captain hoped that his voice remained steady but it sounded hollow and shaky even to his own ears.

Markus didn’t wait for a response. He turned on his heal and walked out, using every bit of will power he had to not take off towards the castle at a dead run. He wasn’t thinking clearly at all and he knew it. The killer said to come alone but for all Markus knew that would end up in two dead kids and a dead captain to go along with it. He needed to do something but what? Patronus that’s what. It took him probably a lot longer to get it to form than normal but as soon as he did he sent it off to Anne. She could at least pass a message along and gather some of the guard, find Kir, find the headmaster. Hell Markus didn’t care. They could follow the patronus back to him at least …. Technically it wouldn’t be breaking the rules the killer had set out since he hadn’t brought anyone with him…

Not more than a few seconds later he way in the castle and looking for anything that might lead him to where the killer wanted to play.
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by: Charon Nachtweber
Portraits made for good sentinels, but were occasionally known for their histrionics. No sooner had the captain of the guard made his appearance than he was assaulted by no less than nine paintings all clamoring for his attention.

"The potions dungeon is being overrun-!"

"But the Astronomy tower has blood smeared-!"

"Spiders everywhere!"

"I saw a student walking with a white covered man-"

"Well MY canvas got shredded by a man in white and he-!"

On and on the portraits went, talking over one another and supplying a deluge of information about the figure in white and the state of disorder both in the Potions dungeon and in the Astronomy tower. The two sites were as far apart as they could be from one another...barely within the ten minute time frame the killer had given.

"He said he'd kill one of them...sir, what did he mean by that?"

All the portraits stopped talking, taken aback by the small boy whose portrait commemorated the first survivor of dragon pox. Odo the Small had been a Hufflepuff and his small portrait was in the dungeons. He rarely left his frame, rarely spoke, and seemed terrified from what he had seen.
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by: Markus von Wolfram
The verbal assault the school portraits leveled on him when he entered was damn near overwhelming. In all his years of being around the school, not once could Markus remember them being this wound up about something, which only furthered the worry that had started to build.

As it was he was having a hard time sorting out everything that had been thrown at him. A man in white with a student…. Spiders, something was going on in the dungeons and the astronomy tower? Never had there been a time when the captain wished he had the capabilities to clone himself. It was a perfect set up by the killer. There was no Markus could possibly be in all these places at once.

”What man in white? And did you recognize the stud-” He didn’t get to finish before he was cut off by another portrait yelling that its canvas got shredded by said man in white.

The back and forth continued for a few seconds and Markus grew increasingly frustrated. He didn’t have time for this. His boys were in trouble. A scathing verbal onslaught from the captain was again cut off, only this time by a younger voice, a voice that had his undivided attention. Markus turned to the direction of said voice and was a bit surprised that is had come from a small boy. The silence from the other portraits was un-nerving. Markus didn’t recognize the small portrait, but what the boy had said sent shivers down the captain’s spine.

”Kill one of them? Who told you this? Did he have my boys with him? Do you know where he was going?” Markus couldn’t keep the panic out of his voice. Time was ticking and the captain had a sinking feeling it was going to run out.
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by: Charon Nachtweber
Odo clasped his hands in front of himself and looked bashful. He wasn't used to receiving this kind of attention, especially from all of the other portraits. A large woman wearing an apron and covered up to her elbows in flour poked the boy not unkindly and ushered him up to the center of the landscape in which they were standing.

"Go on boy, answer the Captain. He asked ya, so be a good boy and tell 'im."

"Y-yes ma'am...Sir,"
He began nervously and tipped his cap to Markus.

"He weren't a big fellow...maybe four inches shorter than my frame's top...so five eight or so? P'rhaps taller, but he was muttering to himself in doggerel verse sir, and it was very scary sounding...he was dragging a boy in Slytherin colors with him deeper inta the corridor and though the boy was screaming there wasn't a sound comin' from him. He looked scared sir...Should you like me to take you?"

The other portraits heard the boy out until the final question when they began clamoring again for their own news to be heard. Everybody, even portraits, thought they had the right to be heard.

One of the new guard recruits, Mags Delaney, covered her ears and screamed at the portraits.


She seemed embarrassed by her outburst and threw a salute at Markus, blushing beet red.
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by: Markus von Wolfram
Markus held his breath as the small portrait began describing what it had seen… but was it his youngest? Or maybe another student? Heh, who was he trying to kid. The message in the locker room had been pretty damn clear and there was no way it could be a coincidence that a man in white was seen dragging a struggling child somewhere. The captain glanced down at his watch just as Odo offered to take him to where the killer was and the uproar that took over in the small lapse of silence was deafening. Everything was happening too fast… spiraling out of control…


The loud outburst caused the captain to visibly jump having thought he had been alone with the clamouring portraits. Merlin, had he been so unsettled by what was happening that he hadn’t heard her approach? Markus took a second to regain a bit of composer before turning to Delaney, offering a small nod of thanks. Her outburst had got everyone to quiet down offering a small moment him to gather his thoughts. It only took a second before he knew what he needed to happen. Delaney would be an issue if she insisted on following but she was also a new recruit, so odds were in Markus’ favor that she’d do as she was told.

”Delaney, I need you to get a few squads together. Go find Rigsby. Send one group to the Astronomy tower and send the other to the Slytherin Dorms. Get the portraits here to show you where to go. I also need a small Recon team to sweep the castle. We have a dead student in the Quidditch locker rooms and possibly 2 more if we don’t get a move on. I’m going with Odo and you can meet me in Slytherin. Make it fast!” He barked out the order in as steady of voice as he could manage, hoping that she wouldn’t hesitate and go.

”Odo,” he said soon as he was finished with the recruit, ”I need you to show me where the man in white went.”
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by: Charon Nachtweber
Delaney snapped a smart looking salute and began relaying Markus' order. She may have been fresh out of training, but the unvarnished discipline seemed to work to her advantage; there were no lazy habits picked up yet from the relaxing into regular field duty. Maybe she was too rigid, maybe too eager, but she was hungry for the approval of the higher ranked guardsman.

Odo watched her with mild curiosity and gave Markus an imitation salute that was nowhere near as sharp as the young woman's, but just as eager. He took off at a sharp pace, watching to make sure he didn't lose the captain.

"It's been awful, sir, with what's been going on in the castle. I'm hoping that this leads to the arrest sir!"

Odo's enthusiasm and silver lining view was contrasted by the ever darkening corridors. Torches normally lit the Hogwarts dungeon walls to give them a cheerier look, but here and there, ever more frequently, the magical torches were extinguished. The darkness eventually became total, and Odo stopped in his own small portrait feet from the pressing darkness. The boy stood in front of a rumpled bed and nightstand and peered to his left into the gloom.

"Here sir...the portraits ahead aren't letting me cross my frame, but the man in white took the boy down there..."

As if cued, an ominous draft blew through the man made tunnel. A cobweb fluttered out of the darkness and caught on the captain's boot.
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by: Markus von Wolfram
At Odo’s imitation salute, Markus couldn’t help but quirk a small half smile. The gesture seemed so innocent coming from the portrait and the captain couldn’t help but compare it to one his youngest was so fond of throwing whenever he was trying to mock his old man. No sooner had Delany turned on her heel, Odo had set off.

The pace was brisk and Markus had to admit following a portrait as it dashed through various frames was a lot more challenging than he ever would have thought. Thankfully Odo had the sense to slow down and pause every few frames so as not to lose the Captain.

"It's been awful, sir, with what's been going on in the castle. I'm hoping that this leads to the arrest sir!"

”So do I….”

It didn’t escape Markus’ attention that there was something off about the corridor he was being lead down. Torches that would normally light the way were extinguished or in some cases completely gone and the dark corridor painted a dismal picture. Markus couldn’t shake the felling that he was walking into the dragon’s lair.

Eventually Odo stopped when the corridor finally descended into complete darkness, though it didn’t seem as if that halt was because Odo was hesitating. The portrait genuinely seemed like he could no longer progress… What kind of magic did the killer know if he was able to halt portraits from accessing this particular area. Markus took a steading breath as he pulled out his wand and a standard issue blade, muttering the words to a spell that would allow him to see without painting a “I’m right here” target on his back.

”Thanks for the help Odo, I’ll take it from here,” the captain stated as an ominous draft blew dust and cobwebs along the floor. ”Appreciate it if you could let my colleagues know this is where I went…”

Markus didn’t wait for a reply. Steeling his resolve, the captain palmed his knife, raised his wand and entered the inky blackness.
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by: Charon Nachtweber
The eerie gloom parted reluctantly under the light of the spell. Here and there, when the light could reach a wall, paintings could be seen. Rather, slashed canvases supported by damaged frames. The knights and statues in the hallway had been toppled. These provided unstable obstacles to maneuver in the darkness. A pervading feeling of unease spiked when the light fell on an odd symbol painted on a wall. It looked as if it were painted in blood and was shaped like a crude drawing of a fish. The looped part that would form the fish's body was filled with slashed lines separated by dotted lines. The whole figure was underlined. The care and attention to detail indicated that the symbol had a purpose, but what that purpose was remained to be seen.

A skittering and popping noise broke through the gloom further down the hallway. The chitinous sound rapidly drew closer and then paused. A thin, tapering appendage separated from the darkness and tested the circle of the wand's light. It was followed by two more before the cocker spaniel sized spider attached to the limbs swung into view. The thing was predominantly jet black with a red stripe running lengthwise down the top of the abdomen. Incredibly illegal and fantastically rare, the Blood Spider was a known ark creature that would feast on human flesh if given the opportunity. The thing was bold as it explored the lighted portion of the hallway. Each move of its long, quill thick legs resulted in the tapping and clicking sound heard previously.
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by: Markus von Wolfram
Markus continued on at a steady yet cautious pace. From what little the captain could tell, whatever had travelled through the corridor before him had done a fine job of discouraging others from following. Proud statues that once stood tall were lying across the floor, while a quick inspection of the walls and their portraits quickly revealed why Odo had been unable to follow. All of them had been broken and their canvases torn…

Markus swallowed nervously and continued on, stopping on when the soft light of his wand indicated something painted on the wall. It looked like a rune of sorts, though not one the captain could ever recall seeing. The care and detail that had been put into was not missed by the man. Markus reached out run fingers along one of the thicker lines that looked suspiciously like blood.

A skittering and popping noise had the captain whirling around, wand and knife at the ready. At first Markus saw nothing. The skittering sounds were still prevalent and sounded as if they were drawing closer until they stopped altogether, leaving the corridor in what felt like a suffocating silence. After a few tense moments the captain took a step toward where the sounds had come from only to stop short as two long tapering legs came into view. The sudden surge of fear that washed over the captain was intense and only worsened when the dog sized spider came fully into view.

But why fear? Spiders normally didn’t bother the captain, he’d dealt with his fair share when helping the Department of Magical Creatures, not to mention his years in school had him quite familiar with what lurked in the Forbidden Forest… surely this one couldn’t be any worse than those right? Maybe it was the fact that he was alone, in a dark corridor, on the trail of a killer that knew he was coming…?

As the thing scuttled forward Markus found himself moving backwards until his back pressed up against the stone wall where the forgotten rune had been drawn, his heart hammering in his ears and breath quickening as nerves threatened to take over.
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by: Anne Fernsby
The nights were growing longer. Perhaps not in truth but in feel, they were. With each passing moment, they seemed no closer to catching the killer than the last. With each passing moment, the terror that filled their nights seeped further and further into their waking world. And when one contemplated they were assuming a lot by assuming all evil done by this murderer could only be done at night, it only grew worse, closer even to terror.

Now, it was night, and dinner had been served about half an hour ago, but Anne had made no move to leave her little office in the Great Hall. She wasn't hungry. She hadn't actually been for days. Any bite of food she'd taken tasted like nothing except for the rare moment she got to share it with Markus. Even now, the food was starting to taste like nothing with him. He was overworked and exhausted and trying so hard to be strong, but their time apart was so much more than their time truly together (alone) due to their jobs and Kirstin's presence that what few moments they could steal weren't enough.

What she wouldn't give to have Markus right now, just holding her in a broom closet somewhere or a quiet, abandoned corridor. Or snogging. Even that sounded increasingly tempting. Fear and stress did that to her, amplified her neediness in that regard. The funny thing was she didn't want to give in right now. She, Anne Fernsby, who had been with a few men, wanted to take time to get to know this person. He meant too much. Their relationship meant too much, and she wanted to be sure all these feelings weren't only caused by the trauma they were going through, the proximity in which they worked with each other.

Anne leaned against the table, hugging her arms as close as she could while still preventing herself from ending up face down on her desk. She needed him right now. Waiting was silly, but the fact of the matter was that she didn't want to share him, and because Kirstin was here, she knew she would be. Unless Kirstin responded by putting up walls. She hadn't asked him about their sex life. She hadn't asked him because she didn't want to make ultimatums. She didn't want to give Kirstin any reason to suspect, any reason to make life harder on Markus than it already was, and deep down, Anne knew what little sneaking around they did only made things harder for him.

The appearance of a patronus before her startled Anne back to the present, and she sobbed out loud but quickly clasped her hand over her mouth and forced herself to keep it in. She had to. She had let her guard down getting lost in thought, and that thought alone scared her, but this thing was here. And it was a cheetah. It was Markus'. She had to listen. He needed her for something. The fact she knew they were out looking for a dead girl only made her feel it had to be something bad. A prickle went down her spine at the thought, and she shivered.

She wasn't wrong. The killer had his children. She needed to get the guard, get Kirstin....

She couldn't focus for that. She didn't know who to grab, where Kirstin and her posse of five were. Anne pushed herself up and pulled her wand out of her drawer with a shaking hand. No, she couldn't take the time to find Kirstin. By the time she did, Markus could be dead. But she would leave word with the nearest group of guards and have a couple come with her. That much she could do, but no more. So, that's what she did, albeit uncertain she made much sense while doing so, before taking off quickly for the staircases and freezing them. She couldn't wait for them. There was no time, no time at all. She had to get upstairs and keep after this thing.

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by: Charon Nachtweber
The spider, as if sensing Markus' fear, scuttled forward to investigate. More sounds clicked through the darkness as two other spiders advanced on the wizard. Blood Spiders hunted by pheromone trails, seeking adrenaline and running down prey much like a pack of hounds would. Rarely did they build webs, preferring to haunt ruins or forests in roving, murderous bands.

The first of the pack approached the captain and tentatively stroked his pant leg with one of its forelimbs. Finding a suitable grip in the material, it latched on. A cry from far down the hall broke through the spider's inspection, however. All four tensed and homed in on the distant cry.


A child's fear filled voice was far more succulent to the spiders than the manufactured sort of the captain. The three who had yet engaged him scuttled off and away to pursue the source of the shout. The one left hesitated and then began examining Markus again. Long pincers glittered in the wand light, moist with venom.

The long hallways of the upper floors were not as densely populated with statuary or portraits. Windows, instead, were to be found every few yards. Great swaths of moonlight slashed across the hallway and painted the walls in a silver light. The engorging moon could not illuminate as well as the torches, but a certain quality of the light seemed far more appropriate for the killer that the guard pursued. As of yet, the path to the tower yielded no clues to the killer or his ensnarled prey. Faith alone, and the word of a few portraits, would lead to the student used to bait the killing trap.
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by: Markus von Wolfram
He shuddered when the bulbous thing scuttled forward, spindly legs reaching forward, searching for a hold. The captain barely supressed another shudder as two more of the dog sized spiders came into view and he fought to keep the new wave of terror from overtaking him. In the back of his mind he knew that the rune he had crossed had done something to him, causing what he figured was the irrational fear he was currently feeling.


The sound of a terrified child echoed down the corridor and managed to loosen the grip the rune and the spiders currently had over him. Markus would recognize that scream anywhere. Fear of the beasts was nothing like the fear he felt for his child, a fear that quickly shifted into something else when two spiders took off in the direction of the cry. He was running out of time. A slight tug on his pant leg reminded the captain that he still had one spider that was a very real issue and Markus acted more on instinct than anything, years of training coming to the forefront as his boot collided with the mouth of his current enemy. Markus had kicked out as hard as he could and followed with a hastily aimed stunner, hoping to cause enough pain to the arachnid that it would think twice before retaliating or perusing, and dashed off down the hall.

”Eric? Eric?!” He shouted out even though it was against his better judgement, but if his boy could hear, Markus wanted him to know that he was coming, that he would be safe.
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by: Anne Fernsby
"Markus!" Anne yelled as she raced toward the second set of stairs. "Markus!" She didn't know if it was worth it to scream out his name at this point. Wherever he was could be so far either direction in this huge castle he wouldn't hear her, but it was worth a try. Either way, she needed to rush. She needed to find out where his children were. That was more important than finding Markus unless he had managed to get on their trail. Given the size of the castle and the nature of their killer, however, would he not make it a choice? One boy or the other, only enough time to save one? Or worse yet, perhaps one was dead but the same scenario presented. Anne didn't want to think about that outcome. Anne didn't want to think about the first either, but it was still better. At least one would live, one that Markus could pour his heart and soul and attention into. Maybe working separately, they could save both. Anne could only hope.

As Anne came to the second stairway, she paused and turned around. "Miller, I need you to go back. Get nine others. Stanton, I need you with me. Miller, assign eight to levels one through four when you get back here and take one with you to level six. We're going to search this castle from top to bottom. The captain's children have been taken, and so help us Merlin, I'm not going to let the captain find them if..." Anne didn't feel the desire nor the need to complete that sentence. They all were thinking it. "If you find either of them, send word to me. Search every nook and cranny, every classroom, every office. You know how our killer so loves a game of hide and seek."

And tonight, a game of cat and mouse, more like.

With that, Anne motioned Stanton and began to take off. Miller's footsteps could be heard racing the other direction.

"Are you...are you afraid, ma'am?" Stanton asked from behind her.

"There's no time to be afraid," Anne replied. "We're doing this for our captain, who's so bravely seen us through everything. We can't let fear get in the way."
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by: Charon Nachtweber

The darkness parted into webby, sticky tendrils that revealed themselves to be actual webs. The dirty and stringy cords of spider silk had trapped rats, a few toads, and a cat in their dragging tendrils. All were desiccated. Torches were once again present in the hallway, but their light was a strange and oily thing. They sputtered and had a flat, reddish glare that seemed only to enhance the darkness rather than banish it. Halos of dusty air surrounded the flames and caused the webs to glitter. Ahead and behind, the spiders could still be heard. Above, as well, there was a clicking sound. the hallway spread into a dead end that proved to be the rounded foundation of one of the towers. Here, the webs completely filled the space and provided a hammock-like cocoon for the young boy trapped in the viscous and apparently irritating strands. His uniform was scorched from contact with the corrosive web and his skin was red and blistering from where it had come into contact with the same.


Eric sounded weak, as if he was sick and exhausted. His abdomen was strangely distended and he shuddered once. A small spider, most likely a hatchling, crawled out of his mouth as the boy groaned once more.


A hollow voice echoed from the hallway, repeating itself in fury as its volume rose.

"...cheater. Cheater! CHEATER! HE DIES FOR YOUR CHEATING!"

A flash of movement exploded from nothing. A creature in white very suddenly stepped from a previously empty shadow and scaled a wall with impossible ease and swiftness. The form headed ever upward towards the tower indicated in the riddle. It vaulted up the walls and balconies with an inhuman precision before disappearing into the astronomy tower. A distant shriek of a child followed that disappearance.
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