2009, the first year of the takeover. All early LR posts from the first year of the takeover are here.
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by: Jordan
#5415
When she asked for help getting into her house a little alarm went off inside of his head. It screamed 'Trap! Trap!' over and over again. It would be entirely possible for this all to be some ruse set up by the Death Eaters. Have a defenseless, wandless girl approach fugitive numero uno and ask for help. She leads him to this quaint little house, gets him inside, and 'Bam!', fifteen Death Eaters ambush him. Torture, murder... he shuddered to think of just what they might do to him if he was caught. He gave Nadia a blank look as he thought this over. He was usually a good judge of character, but this whole current situation had him so worked up that he just couldn't be certain anymore. Was he just being too paranoid? Maybe... How he hated these days anymore. He missed his old job, not having to live in fear. That wasn't to say he was a coward - he was ready and determined to face down his opponents however could in order to restore that former peace. It was natural that he missed it and only made him all the more determined.

He decided he would take a chance and help the girl out, but be smart about it at the same time. There was absolutely no way he was setting foot in the house. After his blank stare, he shook himself out of thought and gave a reassuring smile to make up for the pause. "Of course..." He pointed his wand at the door. "Alohamora." The door lock unlatched and he breathed a silent sigh of relief when Death Eaters didn't suddenly burst out from inside. Dueling was not his forte - he was good at organizing and rallying support, not fighting. It made him an excellent leader, though half the time he himself could not carry out what some of those he organized did. He turned back to Nadia. "You'll understand my apprehension for entering? Gather as much as you can bring with you and meet me back out here." He walked back over to the street to wait for her return, keeping a wary eye on the door, just in case.
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by: Jen
#5416
"Thank you," Nadia said quietly after Damien unlocked the door. She watched him expectantly, waiting for him to step inside and make sure it was clear, but he never did. He simply said he was apprehensive about entering. "And you think I'm not?!" her head screamed, but on the outside the young woman merely nodded and chewed back her lip, her weight shifting to her back foot as she played absent mindedly with her nails. Taking a deep breath and releasing it, she turned stiffly towards the door and apprehensively reached her hand out for the handle, gripping it and placing her thumb over the lever, but before she could push it down and push the door open, she quickly withdrew her hand. It hung limply by her side before she crossed her arms against her body, shivering slightly.

Sure, she had told Damien that they didn't know where she lived, but what if...what if they had somehow found out from her mum? What then? They could be in there waiting, and she was wandless. She would be dead or someone would take off with her, and Damien was all the way over near the street. Chewing back her lip, she turned slowly, staring over at Damien. Her ankle wobbled before she put her weight down a little more evenly. She had to go ask him. She was trembling, and her breathing felt constricted. She couldn't do this. She couldn't cry...not now. Damn it! She bit her lip a little harder, wincing slightly before putting one foot in front of the other and heading for Damien.

Walking felt like floating, the way her thoughts were so distracted, but soon enough she was by Damien's side. She stared at him nervously for a few moments, shifting her weight and looking down at her hands. "Damien?" She glanced up at him for a second, but quickly looked back to the house and then to him again. "Nevermind," she said quietly before walking back to the house. Her walk was slow at first but picked up speed as she burst through the door, slinging it open. She stopped as she entered the entry way to take a deep breath.

She held it and listened, looking around before letting it out. Her eyes fell on the multitude of family pictures that hung on the wall above the sofa table, and she had to quickly look away, blinking before turning heel and heading left, all the way up the stairs to her bedroom on the right at the top of the staircase. She walked in, taking a good look as though trying to memorize it before grabbing a suitcase and using a packing spell to fit some sweats and t-shirts and jeans into it. She doubted she'd need much more than that, but she did pack a nice dress and shoes to match. Sure, she'd probably not need it, but maybe, just maybe, she'd like to look pretty just for herself, to make herself feel special. She packed her mascara and deodorant and underwear and her journals as well as the diamond earrings her father gave her for her eighteenth birthday and a pearl necklace her grandmother had given her. She then changed from her dress into a pair of shorts and a tank and some tennis shoes and she was done.

On her way out, she stopped to grab a few pictures, having to set her suitcase on the sofa table and stuff them in after taking them out of their frames. A few moments later, and she was before Damien, not sure what to say, so she merely looked at him somberly.
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by: Jordan
#5417
Damien watched as Nadia walked up to him and left. She began to ask him something but quickly gave it up. She obviously had confidence issues, so it was probably that she wanted accompaniment inside. He did feel bad about it, but he just couldn’t risk it. He knew of no others with the resources to restart the Order if something were to happen to him. As he waited he glanced up and down the street. It was a nice little area – reminded him a bit of where he grew up, actually. It was hard to remember a time where he knew absolutely nothing about magic. Yet here was, a decade or two later, heading a magical resistance. Hard to believe.

When Nadia finally emerged, proving that it was not an ambush, he decided to apologize. “I really am sorry about all of this. I don’t mean to distrust you or anything, it’s just that I cannot take chances. Many didn’t want me to even leave the safehouse to come help, but I had business to attend to, so I ask you to forgive me. Also, I’m afraid there’s one more safety precaution that you need to go through once we arrive there. But I’ll explain later. We should go.” He extended his arm for yet one more apparition. This would take them directly to the safehouse… or rather just outside the barrier mazes of the safehouse. They’d have to pass through those too once he’d proven beyond certainty that Nadia was trustworthy.
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by: Jen
#5418
Nadia wanted to ask Damien what the hell he'd been thinking and had half a mind to slap him across the face for being so blind, dumb, and selfish. Instead, she took his arm without protest and without looking at him. There was nothing that could be changed about what had just happened. Scolding him for it wasn't going to get herself anywhere even if he ought to know that he's rude, inconsiderate, and very, no, extremely stupid! Once they were there and she had had a chance to look around, she looked at him, livid, and yanked her arm away, backing away a few large paces from him. This looked like the middle of nowhere, at least if the middle of nowhere had tall hedges randomly placed in it. "You're one of them, aren't you?" she asked accusatorily. "A Death Eater?" It was the only way to explain all his actions. He wouldn't go in with her in case his comrades ended up being inside looting because that would mean being identified and her having the chance to run (albeit, a small chance), and now that he had her in the middle of nowhere, he could do whatever he wanted: kill her, take her off like they had her mother. Well, she wouldn't have it! She'd rather live.

"That's why you wouldn't come in. That's why you took me here to the middle of nowhere. And what you said to your 'friend' in that diner? He was probably Imperius-ed to have that conversation with you, wasn't he? It was all a ploy, one of your evil little traps that whoever is in charge of you trained you to do, wasn't it? And me? A vulnerable, young girl who was stupid enough to fall for it!" She scoffed in disgust, continuing to back up at as quick a rate as she could manage without removing her eyes from him, which proved not to be too smart, as she stumbled over a rock and landed on her backside. Her eyes widened and she looked over at him, her eyes narrowing at first before her temporary resolve left her and she stayed there, trembling. There was no escaping this. She had no wand, no idea where she was or how far she was from a muggle town, but he did. He knew all of that and more. This was it. This was the end, and she had been duped and had no one to blame for it but herself.
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by: Jordan
#5419
Damien just stared, slightly surprised by her actions. He gave what he hoped was a comforting face. Was this what she had been keeping pent up during their time together? She'd been so quiet until now. He felt really bad when she fell over, and as she laid there helpless, Damien walked over and offered her a hand to help her up. "To answer your questions in order: No I am not a Death Eater, and I despise everything they stand for. I wouldn't enter your house with you for the same reason you are upset now; I thought you might have been leading me into a trap set up by the Death Eaters. I know now how terribly wrong I was, and foolish for thinking this. And we are in the middle of nowhere, because that is where the safehouse is currently located. My friend really is my friend; we grew up together in Wales as Muggles before I got the letter from Hogwarts. And you are neither vulnerable nor stupid for thinking any of this." He. paused, giving her a comforting expression.

"If I were a Death Eater, why would I have gone through this elaborate ruse? Why would I have apparated you to your house when I could have apparated us to some dark alley or a concentration camp? Remember that it was you who came to me; I would have never known you to be magical if you hadn't approached me. I promise you I never was or will be a Death Eater."
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by: Jen
#5420
Her chest heaving from the shock of her fall and fear, Nadia looked up as Damien offered her his hand. Too doubtful she could escape even if she tried but also too uncertain to accept such an offer, she refused to take it, using her arms and legs to push herself back a little further from him. What was his game? He seemed nice, but what if she was wrong? She had already been foolish to have gone to him for help in the first place. Her eyes cast around her surroundings as he spoke, barely listening to what Damien was saying. Her mind was too distracted and racing to figure out somewhere to run. Couldn't go behind him, couldn't go to either side...She glanced back to Damien every other moment, trying to make it less obvious she was searching for an escape route; however, she doubted it would matter. He probably already knew. She looked behind her, spotting hedges and what seemed like an entrance. What was in there? Was it just a trail to some house? Obviously a very large house, if it was. So, if she couldn't lose him in this trail, maybe she could stumble across something inside it. Then again, if she went in, there could be more of them.

"I promise you I never was or will be a Death Eater."

"Never say never," Nadia replied dully as she pushed herself up. What, did he think she was dumb? A Death Eater doing what she was saying wouldn't exactly say, "I'm a Death Eater. Boo!" unless he was very, very stupid. Keeping her eyes on him, she began to edge her way along the hedges, taking off at a run when she reached the entrance to the hedges, only to be met with another one. Apparently the path took an abrupt turn left at the beginning. With a grunt, she pushed herself away from the hedge and turned her body left, taking off, trying to find her way through what seemed like a never-ending maze. Hopefully it wasn't like the Old Forest in The Lord of the Rings. Find Old Man Wi--Hedge and be lulled into sleep as it swallows her. Well, at least she wouldn't die painfully. When after five minutes she failed to find an exit to this mother of mazes, she stopped running, leaning over with her hands on her knees for a few moments before beginning to pace with her hands on top of her head and finally giving in and sinking down in a corner, hugging her legs to her body and burying her face in her knees. This was it. This was what the end was like.
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by: Jordan
#5421
She was being irrational. She didn't seem to have listened to a word he'd said and now she'd taken off into the hedge maze. Damien frowned, because unless she miraculously took the exact pattern that would lead to the end, she would become undoubtedly lost and once you were lost in this maze there was no way of getting back on the right track. The fact that she took a left at the first turn already proved that fact. Damien stood there for a moment, contemplating just what he should do. Should he perhaps go get some help? Its not as though he couldn't handle her, but she was just being so irrational that it was close to impossible to explain anything to her. He decided the best thing would to be to get her out of the maze and try to calm her down.

He slowly walked forward a few feet into the maze. There was only one way to possibly get to her and that was to utter the password that opened a direct path to the exit for all those in the maze. It was one-way only to prevent anyone from learning the code and simply passing through. As the person walked toward the exit, the hedge would creep along right behind, just to ensure that nobody on the other end would try to sneak through. Anyone who exited the maze coming from the manor would most certainly use it to spare themselves from having to walk back using the complex pattern. It was also a safeguard for anyone who accidentally got lost accidentally; the code was definitely used the first several times someone tried to memorize the maze.

"Show me the way out" Simple, but the code really didn't need to be all that complex. Immediately the hedges began to rearrange themselves and a path formed to the exact spot where she was. It was curved a bit, but Damien could see her after walking a little ways ahead. He came up to her slowly, trying to appear as calm and friendly as he could. She was on the ground, curled into a ball. He felt upset for her, and awkwardly asked, "Is there something I can do to help you trust me?"
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by: Jen
#5422
Nadia heard the hedges begin to move, only pressing her face harder against her knees, hoping that they wouldn't crush her while at the same time hoping they would. She sat there as they finally came to rest, not bothering to look up. It would only be seconds before he would find her there like a doe in the headlights. Hopefully he would be merciful enough to end her confused misery. She tensed, still not looking up as she heard him approach, but she tilted her head slightly upward and raised her fearful brown eyes up to his, in comparison, tall, looming figure as he asked his question, shaking her head quietly in response. "No, I don't think so," she replied quietly. It was true. If he produced her mother, well, she would suspect him then, so there was just no way. No way except for trial and error or the principle of observation.

She watched him for a moment before continuing to ask, "What are you going to do to me?" He at least owed her some honesty so she could perhaps try to prepare herself even if she doubted she could, if he turned out to be a creep. Dashing good looks didn't always mean the guy was worthwhile. She had some experience with that with the stupid guys she'd see in the restaurant she'd worked at until it was destroyed today, particularly if she started her shift during some group of guys' self-proclaimed "happy hour" and had to walk throuh to get to the kitchen. But none of that mattered now. She wasn't sure what to make of this man, but expecting the worst of him seemed like a really decent idea right now after the things she'd seen earlier today.
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by: Jordan
#5423
Damien was entirely uncertain as to what to do. She was extremely upset and he had to regain her trust. "Well I'm going to try and calm you down and earn your trust. Then I will show you through this maze and the next to get you into the safehouse where you won't have to worry about anything." It was blunt but truthful. Once he got her inside, at least he'd have others to help him. He could perhaps go an fetch someone but he didn't want to leave her alone. She could run off and who knows what what would happen to her. Perhaps he could send his patronus in? In any case he'd try to win her over at least once more before he tried something else. He held out his hand to offer to help her up. "I really am sorry for the misunderstandings. Will you please forgive my misjudgments and give me your trust?"
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by: Jen
#5424
"Forgive me if I'm not so trusting," Nadia replied quietly, not looking directly at him, more or less just off the side of his face in hopes it would at least seem like she was, "but I'm not really sure I can be after all that's happened today." Truth be told, she was regretting having approached him when he left that diner. It had been so stupid. Why had she been so blinded by hope for help that she had trusted him enough to let him take her this far? What if he took her inside this place and there were no other people, much less women? Or what if they were and it was like one of those horror stories she and her parents had seen on the tellie quite often throughout her life? She squinted her eyes shut, trying to keep herself under control. She wouldn't show him more fear than she already had. She couldn't. It would be too demeaning. Then again, maybe she didn't care anymore. However, he had said he'd show her through the mazes... Would a captor do that? Maybe she owed him at least a thank you. The apology could come later if he proved to be telling her the truth. "But I suppose that the apology and your words were a good way to start," she told him, momentarily glancing at him and then back off to the side of his face.
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by: Jordan
#5425
Damien gave a smile; it looked like maybe she could be won over after all. "Thank you. Now then, shall we begin?" he asked, still holding out his had to help her off the ground. "We have to to exit the maze first so it can reset itself." He nodded his head toward the exit, and turned to face it. He turned his head back to her, waiting to make sure she was coming. As he began to walk out, he decided some conversation might help to ease her mood.

"You know, the safehouse was actually designed to be a school. I raised the money and bought and renovated the old manor back a couple years ago, just after the Death Eaters attacked Hogwarts. You see, I was a campaign manager back before this whole Death Eater overlord business, and so it was easy for me to round up the money. Anyway, it served as a sort of 'interim school' during that half year when Hogwarts was closed. Then, as you know, things kind of went from bad to worse, and now it's come down to being a safehouse." His little explanation had certainly managed to fill up the time as they had now reached the entrance/exit of the maze. He hoped she didn't feel he was overbearing.
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by: Jen
#5426
"It wasn't completely bad until today," Nadia thought to herself. Yes, there had been the necessitation of paperwork proving blood lineage--for sake of ensuring the lineages of any future children admitted to Hogwarts be of nearly pure blood, that their magic was not stolen but instead earned--but that had been bearable. No one had been harmed in the process. Sure, there had been some finagling on the part of those running the check points, and it was a hassle, but honestly. It hadn't stopped her from doing anything, from continuing her job that she had come to have a love-hate relationship with depending on the day. But today that had all changed in a sudden, simple twist of fate.

She supposed, deep down, she had worried subconsciously about this happening or something similar ever since the beginning of the segregation and ever since the attack on Hogwarts and the Ministry a few months ago, but she had thought it would be a riot caused by the other muggle-borns at the check points that would result in a bunch of deaths--not these terrorists attacking like that. Either would have been tragic, but it had happened this way, not the other way, and within a matter of minutes her life had been turned upside down. No, it hadn't been bad--not before today. Not for her, not for many. But was there any use dwelling on the past anymore? It was just that, and no matter how hard she might try to wish it to be different, she would not be able to squint her eyes, say thrice, "There's no place like home," whilst tapping her heels together and wake up in her home with her mum calling her down to breakfast.

Nadia merely nodded quietly to show that she had heard Damien's words. There was nothing to say. It wasn't all that interesting to her what the history of the safe house was, really--if it was even that. She supposed it was meant to reassure her that she was safe since it had been mentioned in the papers at one point, but still, those who were well-known masqueraded as one thing before the public and as another behind closed doors. This one was no longer in the public eye. And she supposed perhaps it could also be an attempt at small talk to make her more at ease, but she hated small talk. It made her more nervous and uncomfortable as it made the fact that she was with an unfamiliar stranger even clearer than it already had been. Nothing was going to be the same again, was it?
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by: Jordan
#5427
Damien stood there, trying to come up with something to fill in the awkward silence that had followed. The maze reset itself, though the entrance itself didn't move. He supposed he could perhaps explain the mazes as they walked through them. He hoped that it would at least ease her tension. "Alright then... are you ready?" He walked forward, allowing her to follow next to him. "I'll have to ask you to to try not to memorize the directions we take... the less people who know their way through, the better. And if you ever get yourself lost here in the hedgemaze, just say 'Show me the way out' and a path will form that will lead you directly out."

Now he began to lead her through the maze, trying to strike up a conversation as he diligently knew which turns in the maze to take. "We have this hedgemaze and then a doormaze before we finally come out into the safehouse. Obviously anyone would have a terrible time trying to get in if they didn't know their way, so it's a pretty safe place to be." That was the whole point of it after all: to keep Death Eaters out. First it was to keep students safe, now just fugitives in general. Damien really did miss those days back before this whole mess had started: back when he was a campaign manager, working to get people into office and advancing his own career. He still maintained his charisma and character, which allowed him to remain a figurehead in this game of politics. Unfortunately, he had to do it with a big hit on his head, while trying to rally support and save the abused at the same time. It would be difficult - that was certain.
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by: Jen
#5428
He was telling her not to memorize her way through this hedge maze? He was telling her not to memorize her way through the maze? What on earth? Then, why had he allowed the maze to reset itself? And how did he expect her to find her way out and back in should need arise? And how was this command to work without some magical authority? She didn't get any of it. She never had been able to do wandless magic or obviously she wouldn't be quite so intimidated by this Damien lad she was with. And how was she to find any of this safe? After all, how far in did one have to be before, "Show me the way out," would be heeded? What if a Death Eater somehow decided to just try everything under the sun whether it be entirely too obvious or not? What if he just waltzed in and decided he was confused, figured it out, and was able to head straight to the place? It seemed flawed to her, far too flawed for comfort even if the man perhaps meant well.

"We have this hedge maze and then a door maze before we finally come out into the safe house. Obviously anyone would have a terrible time trying to get in if they didn't know their way, so it's a pretty safe place to be."

Nadia continued to follow him, her feet seeming to drag with a sense of impending doom. She was truly to be locked up in this place, wasn't she? Maybe she didn't want to do this after all, but who could she trust in this world when everything she had ever known in it had been turned upside down and inside out? She couldn't expect to be able to go over to Mrs. Eaton down the way and ask her to apparate her to her father. Not only would that be giving up on ever finding her mum, but it would also mean possibly exposing the whereabouts of her father because who knew if Mrs. Eaton was still trustworthy? Just like this man. She couldn't just run again and expect him to eternally chase her, and she'd be lost in the middle of nowhere with nowhere to go and no way to get to safety. She secretly wondered how long until hysterics might lead him to decide to knock her unconscious and carry her inside?

Never mind that he said that he wasn't a Death Eater and never would be. These people who had attacked her and her wizarding community had seemed like every day patrons of the restaurants and stores in the area. They had seemed just as innocent as Damien here had seemed. Deciding this was enough to force her to keep from letting hysterics get the best of her as she wanted to know how to escape if she felt the need to do so, she crossed her arms to her body and lowered her head, staring at the grass as she dragged one foot before the other, always just a few steps behind and to the side of her companion she followed somewhat unwillingly. She didn't know what to make of anything right now. Was she a prisoner that had been fooled or was this the real thing? Was she truly going to be safe? "Only time will tell," she thought to herself, chancing a glance over at the man with the seemingly kind face. Hopefully this wouldn't turn into even more of a nightmare than things already were.
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