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by: Justin McDowell
#10856
Wednesday, 30 May 2012
12:00 p.m.

It was a strange sort of torture to be told you're going to die a good time before it actually happens, yet it was equally as strange the number of moments he was numb while thinking of it as though he'd accepted death. He'd have thought he'd be afraid sitting here in the holding cell, cuffed with Lissa and that man he'd seen in the mess hall a while ago along the bench with him, yet he wasn't. Justin might have had fight in him when he'd first come here, yet look where that had gotten him: thin, beaten, unrecognizable. They'd forced him into a shower before they had thrown newer prison clothes on him and set him here. The glimpse he'd seen? Yet Lissa had it worse, he thought, glancing over at her. He'd tried to say hi but had received a wand to the face from the guards and explicit instructions not to talk. There were a few others, ones he didn't recognize, although he hadn't quite tried to look at them. They were dead men like him. No point in it.

"Stand up," a gruff voice said, and Justin looked at him, wondering what was next. Was this it? "The lot of you," the man said, and Justin realized he wasn't standing yet. He scrambled up, instantly regretting it for the dizziness it caused. He stood still, though he felt he was swaying. Perhaps he was. Justin had no way to tell anymore, no mirror, no friend. Lissa was smart enough not to risk anything for him, surely, although there wasn't much left to risk. He dared a glance, but that was a mistake. His stomach lurched and he retched, a bit of his breakfast making its way back up. He spat it away.

"Now, I know a lot of you ain't seen the outside in quite some time now, but I doubt I need remind you there will be a number of guards present to ensure no funny business, and if you decide to pull any, there are some fates worse than Death. The American death sentence, for one."

Justin shuddered. There had been tale and mention of it in History of Magic, one of the few things that had stood out. The Dementors brought fear and depression and worse, yet there was something about that.

"Eternal torture, for another." Sark side-eyed in Liam's direction. Justin didn't bother to see if he made eye contact, content in staring at the small pile on the stony ground. So bright in the darkness surrounding it.

"Check their shackles," Sark barked, and Justin felt those around his legs and around his hands and waist tug. Magic. They were tethered together now, forced to step together or suffer together. "Now, off t' the boats with ya!"

The cell door opened suddenly, the clunk of the metal causing Justin to jump, and the tug of his shackles as the person before him took a step forward nearly caused him to stumble. He didn't know how, but somehow, he didn't.

It seemed to take ages to reach the door leading to the outside of the prison building, and as he followed mindlessly forward toward what he supposed were the boats, he couldn't help but notice how treacherous the ground was. Some of it crumbled as a a wave crashed only feet from where they were.

"Steady does it!"

The voice wasn't Sark's, but the crack of a hand across the inmate's face confirmed to Justin it was an inmate. His stomach churned. A slap was nothing compared to what they would be receiving. There would be Dementors there and Guards present to ensure no one escaped the Kiss.

A kiss.

Kisses were supposed to be pleasant and cherished as the ones he and Lissa had shared so long ago it felt almost like another lifetime. How long had it been since he'd held her in his arms? Since they'd laughed? Since she'd made that meal they'd never eaten thanks to Gideon's letter?

How long since the kiss that had almost ruined everything? How long til the Kiss that would ruin everything eternally?

The boat rocked beneath him as he stepped in, and he had to catch himself on someone's back to steady himself before sitting down. How would they row in this water, shackled as they were? It was treacherous, so tumultuous it would be a wonder if the boat didn't capsize before they could get away from the island, much less to land. Only, he didn't have to wonder after moments more had passed and they reappeared in a small meadow he recognize vaguely.

Where were they? It was so green, and the sun was so warm on his cheeks, on his skin, though his eyes hated its brightness and he could do nothing to filter it out but to squint and hope he would grow used to it quicker rather than slower. Yet did it really matter? He'd be dead soon. They all would be.

And then what?

Was there anything after death? or would they simply cease to exist? These were things he'd never given much thought. The best he could hope for was that there was something and that it was pleasant. After everything he had endured, he wanted pleasant, though he would give it up in a heartbeat if it meant Lissa would spend the afterlife happy.

"Walk! Left, left! Left, right, left!"

The cadence of the male guard's voice seemed to rouse the complacent row of prisoners as one by one, they started to go, some bumping in from behind who were quicker to step in line.

It wasn't long until he saw the wooden platform that he'd only seen here once before, only it was smaller then. For that one leader. The Order leader, the group that had been painted terrorists. Justin couldn't help but wonder how false that was now as he found himself marching toward it.

Moments later, "Halt! About face!"

Justin gulped. This was it.
#10861
It hurt a great deal less if you just stayed numb. It was the only strategy Melissa had left to employ. She'd had tastes of it before, moments within her life as a slave when the only way to move through life was to just not feel it anymore. She'd come back from that deep, dark hole of her life once, but it was clear there wouldn't be another opportunity for healing.
How could there be when today was the day she died.

So even when the cuffs here shackled to her wrists and ankles, even when she was shoved down into a line of other criminals and Justin was pushed next to her, Melissa made the decision to ignore it. Looking at him would crack the ice she'd surrounded herself and if a crack was allowed then her defences would shatter. That couldn't be allowed to happen. So instead Lissa's eyes stayed stuck to her pale hands, still vaguely pink from the cold water she'd been forced to wash in that morning. Had to be presentable to the public after all, for the crowd which would have gathered to watch her life sucked out of her.

The journey passed, Melissa couldn't say if it was fast or slow. Time did a funny thing when you knew you were in your final hours. It seemed to shudder, sit heavier. It wasn't the length of time, but the weight of it. How it sat on your back and shoulders, pushing you down with the knowledge it would soon be over. Would it feel good to shirk or the burden? Would Melissa be grateful when her life was over?
She wasn't sure yet.

"Halt! About face!"

Here they were. Not the beginning of the end but the end of the end. The end of the story.

Their story.

That thought hit Melissa harder than a kick to the gut. Her and Justin. The pair who had found each other twice over. One meeting was chance. Two was destiny. Or that's what it had felt like, but why had destiny intervened just to bring them this moment. Shackled, before a gallows.

Melissa ducked her head, her eyes on the dirty metal cuffs that bit into her wrists. She didn't want to see who they were coming for first. If it was her she didn't want to see, if it was Justin she didn't want to watch.

End of the line. End of the book. Just, the end.
#10862
Was this it, then? Was this the end?

After the events of Thursday night, Liam was found in a heap near the Abbey. He slept outside, because he found that his room felt too much like his old cell in Block D. Claustrophobic. The night air was refreshing against his skin, though he didn't leave too much of himself exposed. Liam was bare beneath his hoodie and wore a pair of sweat pants as he huddled to get some rest, tucked near a dumpster. He'd been burning up, feverish, but had the chills at the same time. The strangest part was that his hands were covered in blood, but he wasn't wounded. In fact, he felt stronger than ever, other than the heat that was radiating off of him.

His wand...was gone. What had he done? Liam remembered that he had gone home only to find pieces of his home a mess--because he'd caused that mess. He expected to find his loving wife. Liam wanted to scoop her into his arms, but he refused to, after what he'd found out. She moved on? She decided to forget about him, rotting away, wrongfully accused, to finally get what she always wanted: A life with Casey Winslow. It was always him, Liam knew. Casey was always an obstacle. Prior to her memory loss, shortly after her release...all the way up until the day of his incarceration, Liam had that worry in the back his mind. Would she run to him? Would she love him? Would she still be there, waiting when he got out? He felt his temperature rise just thinking about her. She thought he was dead. Likely story. She wanted a divorce. All he could remember from that night was blinding rage that burned through him as she struck her multiple times and even...he even cursed her. There was a nasty feeling in the pit of his stomach. He cursed her. The cutting curse, too, if he remembered the words and movement correctly.

Merlin, that night was such a blur. He remembered seeing so much red--thinking about her and Winslow in his own home, then the name Bryden came up and it was as if he blacked out in those spots. Why did he know that man? Why did he know the name of the garou, an Alpha of a pack he'd never heard of until about a month ago. One thing was for sure: he didn't mean to hurt her. He even called for her when she took off, because he wanted to counter what damage he'd done, seal the wound and find her proper healing...find Jon. Liam have ruined not only his marriage but any means of friendship, kinship, and trust he'd had with Kara, something he'd fostered throughout the years of knowing her, back when he was just that awkward upper-classman who had a crush on her, and further became the bartender who longed for her.

They'd apparated into the alleyway and brought him back to base, which was their room in the bowels of the bloody prison. He remembered the needles, their poking, prodding and invasive procedures they did on him for days before locking him up again. He wasn't thrown to solitary at least, but he preferred that instead of general population because he would have rather listened to the quiet rush of the sea crashing against the rocks instead of the chorus of howling, or pathetic weeping.

"...the American death sentence, for one...Eternal torture, for another..." Liam only snapped back into real-time because the voice of that sniveling warden cut through the air, aimed inhis direction.

His jaw tensed. He stood taller than the warden, and if it weren't for the double-strengthened shackles and the restraint around his neck which allowed them to pull down on his neck, Liam might have tried something. It'd be stupid, but he would have tried, nonetheless. Instead, he marched, along the line of chains and dragging feet of multiple people, including the young man he'd met before in the mess hall...the one who said he was in line to get the Kiss. The Dementor's Kiss. Was that what Liam was in for too, then? Was he subject of a failed experiment, so he was on his way to death too? No dirge. No fanfare. No one left to mourn his death, not even his wife or his family.

Liam was alone.
#10920
Death. It was something that all humans were supposed to run away from. It was the purpose of all humans, to fight death, to stay alive as long as possible. In any way possible. That was the whole purpose behind life, behind evolution, behind family and clans, behind thousands of years of progress and change- to more efficiently stay alive. And life, for its part was resilient. It changed, it adapted, it shifted just to survive. Just to live a little bit longer. To claw at life with a little more tenacity. A little more hope. A little more time. All for life. So what was wrong with her that she wanted to throw all that away. What was wrong with her that she wanted to die?

It wasn't the first time she had felt relief at the threat of death. All the times she had spent the night in the dark hearing the screams in the cells down below while she sat alone in solitary. She had been fine at first. She focused on the waves outside. She had counted the crashes and tried to remember happier times and happier waves but each time the waves hit and the dementors had passed down the hall things became more and more distant. The waves were just waves soon after, nothing happy, nothing that changed her mind or reminded her of anything. The next time she wanted to die was the weeks kept in the dark hole. They would yell at her, they would scream at her, they would show her pictures and stab her with things again and again until she could not remember her name, or her past, or whey she should live. She just woke up from the blackness, back in the cage above the screaming aware of nothing but the pain and the wish that she could die.

Before that she wanted to live. Before that she wanted to live with someone, with friends, with family, with a man...Kam...Konrad....Kyle? Kyle. She had wanted to live with Kyle. She had wanted to love Kyle. He had not loved her. If he had loved her she would not be here. They told her that all the time. No one was coming. No one wanted her. No one would save her. She had to just wait and be obedient. If she was quiet she would get food. If she was quiet they left her alone. And now it seemed being quiet was not enough. Eating the gruel. Not making contact. Just staring. It was not enough and now she would get her wish. She would die.

Stumbling down the line out of the boats with the rest of the prisoners Bridget focused on her breathing. She had never noticed how something so simple, something so delicate was so magical. The feel of the air going into her lungs. The feel of it coming back out again. She had thought it to be so automatic and simple. She closed her eyes and did it again- in....and out. She didn't know how many she had left but she might as well enjoy what was left. Even if she had wished so many times to just stop and never feel that sensation again. But the way it played with the water, and the screams and sobs around her. In and a slapping sound, out and a sob. In and the clank of chains, and out and the march of feet. But soon it would all come to nothing.

Looking up Bridget saw the wood of the platform. The sun glinted off the wood and warmed her skin. She hadn't felt warmth for a long time. She hadn't felt anything for so long. The grass was soft. The sun was warm. It was almost pleasant. A single pleasant moment before they came and took at all away. One last moment of peace before she would be plunged into the darkness one last time. Staring ahead was all she could do, not making contact. Only breathing....in and out....
#11138
6:00 a.m.

It was early and the sun had begun its ascent an hour ago, the day already giving the slightest of hints of the hot weather to come, yet Casey and those with him wore their wizarding robes over their clothes, hiding the devices they would be hiding throughout Diagon Alley today. So far, the paperwork had worked--not that Casey had expected differently. There had been careful planning involved. Those of Evie's group who had sided with them had real paperwork, and those who were Order with no paperwork of their own had utilized some muggle methods and transfiguration to at least temporarily fool someone by looking close enough to an Isis member they resembled. Ianto had seemingly done his part to make sure that it was a bit easier for people to get in with the guards today, and those who had no paperwork whatsoever or no believable look-alike had utilized other routes in that Ianto had discovered.

They had arrived in small batches, each having their own assigned targets: the Daily Prophet, Gringott's, owleries, a couple spots in Knockturn, etc. All places that would either rock the establishment or at least hinder the quick spread of news until their siege could result in the overtaking of the government. Closer to the muggle world, the Ministry interior and Puxley Manor were targets. They had the largest task force groups to ensure that any ensuing battles could be fought and won, though they posed as slaves to blend in at Puxley and guards at the Ministry. Those in Diagon worked in smaller groups today, playing the part of American tourists, eager to see everything, or any other cover that worked best with their assigned places. The thought was that little skirmishes would leak out into the Alley and there was no need for a larger singular force with smaller groups in one concentrated area.

Regardless how much they'd planned for this day, Casey felt nervous. More nervous than he had before. Perhaps it was the lapse in time since the last real battle he'd fought in this war or perhaps it was Jace's group or a myriad of other possibilities. It was mostly the potential casualties, he thought. Perhaps the group at Puxley was supposed to round the slaves and offer wands despite the dangerous nature of using a wand that wasn't yours and only emerge with them after the explosions and chaos had begun. Perhaps the groups elsewhere were to call fire or do whatever it took to get people leaving right before the explosions rocked at noon. But there would still be casualties. Misfired shots from their wands and any muggle weaponry some had acquired were real dangers in chaos involving innocents. As much as he hated it, it was necessary at this point. At least, he'd felt so convicted beforehand. Now, as he placed his first bomb behind a portrait he'd been admiring with a female companion who was playing lookout for the moment it took, he had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.

~*~*~*~*~


11:58 a.m.

There had been a gathering forming in the center of Diagon Alley, told the most open location, a platform there with Guards at a few posts. The people were murmuring to one another, the buzz of their voice loud enough to be heard regardless where you were in the Alley. Casey glanced at his small group then motioned them, forcing the air of excited curiosity any tourist might feel not knowing what was going on. He was curious as he wasn't entirely certain what was going on, yet he certainly was anything but excited. His stomach was knotting, yet he knew when the time came, he would spring into action.

As he and his group reached the crowd, he could see a line of what appeared to be prisoners forming a line on a raised platform, an unrecognized politician on stage, and he realized it seemed darker somehow. As he looked up, he realized why. Dementors. They were swooping down toward the prisoners then back up and around, obviously eager to deal the final blow to those who stood there, yet the patronus dancing about the stage seemed to keep them at bay. But not for long, Casey realized. This was much like the execution they had staged for Damien Noland, yet if they had learned anything, surely these were the real deal, and it seemed they had Dementors to ensure no escapes or fewer.

"Fuck," he muttered under his breath. There was no way this would go smoothly. No way now. The Dementors would go crazy in the chaos, taking whoever they could. It didn't matter that the crowds had their own patronuses surrounding them--at least of those who could cast them. As soon as the explosions happened, happy memories would be near impossible. It would be a bloodbath, and there was no way to stop it quickly enough, even as he pressed his thumb hopefully on the enchanted knut in his pocket that would cause Kara's to quickly heat up, an indication something was wrong and they needed to hold back. It was too close to time now. Her finger was likely on the trigger, and if Jace was anywhere nearby, there would be no stopping what was about to come.
#11141
Earlier today...

"Tell me again why we have to do this..." Shadow had looked a lot less thrilled with going through with the plan than when it was originally pitched, as she set a few of the weapons into the carriage. The Lucky 7 were armed to the teeth, and while that made Kara uneasy due to calculations and casualty reports she'd made with Gabe, Kara stressed to Jace that they needed to keep the Order and allies safe, and the civilian population out of the line of fire. Such was the reality of war. Injuries were preventable if they knew to be aware and take the measures to stay safe, but she'd be a fool to think no one would get hurt.

Kara shrugged as she looked over at Shadow. "We have to make this look natural, and they won't know what hit them."

Snickers were heard and Shadow growled at the culprit, forcing them all to shut up again and give silence to Kara who was giving out her orders.

"Jace is with me. Shadow and Rafe. Act like you like each other, alright?" Kara chuckled as she tried not to grin at their disguise. She and Rafe were posed as a couple walking their child down the street in a stroller. It was quite the sight to see them have to cozy up together, when their faces were like cold steel. Unamused. "Bree, Tao are our eyes in the sky and that leaves...Carver and Mia, you're with my guys here. You are a group of friends so play it as such."

The younger two, at least, younger as judged by appearance, nodded at her without question. It was nice to see their compliance, since it was just months ago the pack were ready to rip her people to shreds without a second thought...and now they were strong allies.

"Position wise, we're going in staggered with Rafe and Shadow leading in on point. Bird's eyes provide cover, and your group will follow, and we'll take back, make sure any tails are lost, no one gets let behind, and will keep close watch in case anyone comes at us from the front or sides." It was a different approach than she'd been used to, but Kara had a good feeling about taking a rear flank than being at the head of the crowd. It made sense to have the leader in the back, to make sure no one got left behind and gave them a better vantage point. "We have our target and that's it, and the pack are equipped with a charm to tell us apart from the rest. We've already run the what-ifs and the plans in case of emergency or if shit hits the fan...well, we protect our own, we ensure the safety of the people, and we survive. Get your asses back to base and we reassess. I'm not saying any of this to make you feel like you've got to hold back. We gotta raise hell. We're showing them we're very much alive." Kara grinned at the Order members before looking over at everyone with a proud and confident nod. "Understood?"

The role of general was something she'd not been used to and if her father was there, he might have been proud of it. If she was honest with herself, Kara was damn proud too, as it was a bloody surprise, though a welcome one, to have Jace there with his crew. Unlike last time she'd participated in anything like this, she felt strongly about their survival rating, and knew she was going into this with people she could trust to watch her back and keep her out of Azkaban. She looked to the Alpha, and left the forum open for him to give his words of wisdom, before setting out to execute their plan, in hopes of no loss or mistakes on their end.

~*~
Present...

Kara and Jace were walking along the street about a block or so over from where Casey guided his small group of 'tourists'. "You alright?" At his side, Kara kept pace on their stroll, with her hands in her pockets. On one hand, she figured his dislike for cities or people might have made him uncomfortable. Then again, he was gunning for a fight, so perhaps that was he only reason why he agreed to set foot in the city at all. She fought the urge to reach out and take his hand, for authenticity's sake, and all, even though to her, holding his hand would mean more to her than a disguise. They hadn't talked about the other night, and quite frankly, this wasn't the time or place for any of that. She kept things civil, professional and wanted to keep both of their heads in the game. Not to mention, she still hadn't talked to Casey about any of it so keeping things under wraps was the plan for now. This attack was more important than her most recent revelation, and she needed to concentrate.

The way the place was designed was easy enough to navigate, but it wasn't hard to see the group of folks rushing toward a central location. There was a remarkable shade at the end of the road too, an darkness she easily recognized and she suddenly felt cold. "No...no no...Shit." She uttered and picked up the pace, until the street ended and they were all facing the clearing. A stage. Darkness. An audience. They must have come from Azkaban, Kara gulped. All the intel in the world and they weren't tipped off about this being scheduled today, of all days? "This isn't right. Fuck. It's an..." An execution, she wanted to say but she couldn't even finish the sentence, as she felt the enchantment in her pocket already heating up as she pulled it out and set it in the palm of her hand. Kara clasped her hand shut and swiveled her head from side to side to search for Casey but there were too many people already swarming toward the stage. Kara blinked, and suddenly felt the eyes of the world on her. Carver and Mia...Rafe and Shadow down the way...her people were scattered somewhere in the sea of heads floating by, but she was sure they were watching for her command, too.

Thinking quickly, and before he could make a move, Kara reached out an braced her hand against Jace's chest. So many innocent people being swarmed by Dementors--that thought made her sick to her stomach. "Jace, we should..." Her voice faded away and the world went silent. Dead air.

That was it. There was no turning back. Time slowed. Before she could stop it, the first shot rang out, which was followed by the heavy boom of the first explosion that shook the streets. Kara breathed in a sharp bit of air that felt like it had lacerated her lungs.
Last edited by Kara Viridian on Thu May 25, 2017 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by: Jace Bryden
#11148
He glanced over at her as they continued their easy gait down the crowded streets and offered a fanged grin in response. Was he alright? The anticipation and general budding excitement was almost to much for the Garou to contain. Of course he was alright. They were finally going to put the talk into action, finally sink teeth and claws into the enemy, finally do something. At first he wasn't going to answer, but then realized that Kara might have mistaken his silence for something else. He'd told her his feelings on cities and how humans tended to throw emotional onslaughts without much thought combined with an overload of the senses, so it wasn't hard to put two and two together and figure out why he wasn't a fan of places large amounts of humans gathered.

"More than alright sweetheart."

Jace was certain Kara would be able to hear the excitement in the words. They were so close to go time that the alpha had to shove his hands into his jacket pockets to stop himself from grabbing a blade and undoing the spell Mia had cast on his gear to keep it invisible to the eye until touched. The bandolier rested comfortably on the outside of his jacket and he could feel the coolness radiating off of the two pistols he had tucked into the waistband of his pants. And then there was the comforting swing of the grenade launcher that rested against his back. The three grenades it carried would be more than enough to get the party started.

Jace let his eyes wonder over the crowds, the shops, looking for anything that might throw a potential snag into the works and he didn't miss the growing crowd at the end of the street. A stage. A gathering. An execution. How fucking perfect. It was almost as if the Whippoorwill was with them, guiding his 7 bringers of death to the chosen. Even the Dementors were out, which would only play to the Orders advantage.

A sudden shift in emotion and body language from Kara had him glancing at her, a slight frown forming on his face at her words. This wasn't right? How was it not right? All the cards were lining up for chaos to be unleashed! To catch the regime completely off guard. His head swiveled back to scan the area and then out of the blue he was stopped dead in his tracks by a hand on his chest. What. The. Fuck?!

Cold feet. They were getting cold feet. For fucksake. Well it was a good thing he'd given the pack his own orders last night after they'd gone over all the Intel they'd gathered over their two nights of recon. As always they were to look out for themselves over anyone else, work their way to their predetermined gather point once things started to heat up, and if it looked like the Order was going to hesitate and they had an opening to carry out the mission they were to take it. He wasn't trying to slight Kara or fault her choice in tactics. But The 7 had never worked with the Order before so Jace had no way of knowing if they even had the balls to get shit started. And that meant he needed an alternative plan to make sure things went in their favor.

And then a shot rang out and it was music to the alpha's ears. His grin widened and Jace easily sidestepped Kara. He took a couple of steps forward before turning around to give her a wide grin, though there was something sinister about it.

"Showtime!"

This time when he put his back to her, Jace moved toward the mass of people with a slow steady pace, one that was full of purpose, yet designed to draw attention. As he moved he began to whistle a tune just loud enough for human ears to hear. It was so out of place considering what was going on he could feel the eyes on him as he continued to walk. With the attention on him it gave the pack and Order members a chance to move undetected. When Jace was about 50ft from the stage he reached behind him and grabbed the grenade launcher and set it comfortable up against his shoulder and leaned back just enough so that the grenade he'd had Rafe modify last night would land right smak dab in the middle of the six guards standing to the left of the soon to be executed. It was a concussion grenade, one specifically designed to do most of its lethal damage within a 10ft radius. So in that regard he'd be keeping to Kara's thing about not killing civilians if it could be avoided. Anyone outside that 10ft radius would probably get knocked ass-over-tea-kettle but that was better than dead.

Jace let the anticipation grow for a few more seconds as his whistled tune of choice came to its natural end and as the last note rang out he pulled the trigger.

FWHUMP

The sound of screams that tore through the air shortly after were like music to the Spirals ears.


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