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Gideon Caulfield

"If others are uncertain of you, than you cannot be uncertain of success."

0 · 615 views · located in Magnus Grexx

a character in “Witchcraft And Wizardry”, as played by katyisaladybug

Description




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Name
Gideon Caulfield

Age
17

Year
Seventh

Gender
Male

House
Arietem

Pet
Brown barn owl named Beedle

Wand
Hawthorn wood, phoenix tailfeather core, 10 inches. Slightly springy. {x}

Birthplace
New Orleans





Likes
  • Deception
  • Victory
  • Romantic relationships
  • Theatre
  • Keeping low

Dislikes
  • Pricks
  • Quidditch
  • People who are too happy
  • Music
  • Full moons




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Personality

Machiavellian, Seductive, Untrustworthy, Determined.

Gideon Caulfield is your typical bad boy with a bit of a twist. A maniacal twist, to say the least. A pureblood with two parents heavily involved in the American Ministry of Magic, there's nothing he loves more than having power. The tricky part is that sometimes he uses that power for the benefit of others, while other times he uses it for personal gains. He's deceptive like a snake. He'll put on a happy face and become your friend in an instant, the next moment only to betray you. Of course, he doesn't betray everyone, just the ones he needs to manipulate in order to get what he wants. One moment, he'll be stabbing his friend in the back, while the next he's hosting a fundraiser to save extinct magical creatures. It's extremely mind-boggling, because whenever he's performing a generous act, he is wholeheartedly doing it out of a kind intention.

Even though he somehow manages to give profitable advice to those who seek his counsel, Gideon's conniving, manipulative, and confusing nature tends to turn people away. After all, how could you trust an ambitious anomaly with a smile as sharp as a knife? It's freaky enough that he can read most people like an open book. However, he is a master of seduction and persuasion, so his acting ability at least gets people to talk to him. If you want something done, be it a dirty deed or a simple request, he's your guy. (Just as long as you pay him first.) You can say that he is somewhat greedy, but to be frank, his motives are enigmatically unclear. This only makes his presence all the more petrifying.

Still, he's not nearly as wicked as people think. Somewhere in his thick skin is a beating heart that cares for the weak, insane, and the innocent. Those types of people can make him grow awkward and have a loss for words. However, rare moments like those only occur in the midst of highly emotional situations. He doesn't seem like the type, but Gideon is highly sensitive. Not quite towards everyone, but towards himself and those he identifies with. His view of the world is slightly skewed, as he believes himself to be the hero of his own storybook. All he has to do is rewrite the narrative so that the story will be in his favor.

He has a long string of ex-lovers, as it is clear that he has no genuine affection or absolute loyalty to anyone. However, that does not mean he doesn't necessarily have the capacity to love someone. He just chooses to not expose any weakness of emotion or favoritism. Also, many people do not know how much he appreciates the arts, particularly theatre. He finds it a gateway to the emotions that the world keeps hidden. Those emotions are the things he preys upon and studies in order to get what he wants. Unlike other purebloods in Arietem, he is indifferent towards muggles and mudbloods. However, the fact that he is an avid member of the infamous Jr. Death Eaters club is very suspicious...





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History

Not much is known about where Caulfield came from or how him and his family got to be where they are now, but it is known around the wizarding community that his mother and father went through a rags-to-riches transformation. (MORE TBA)

{Password}
Copper Cauldrons

So begins...

Gideon Caulfield's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Natasha Daggerman Character Portrait: Waylon W. Wolfsbach Character Portrait: Stephen Schwarz Character Portrait: Gideon Caulfield Character Portrait: Bobby Burkinson Character Portrait: Abraham Delavergne Character Portrait: Rose Aguilera Character Portrait: Stephen Notwood
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"Hey Natasha, Waylon," said a meek little voice as quiet as the subtle sounds of the waves below the ship. A girl with deep brown hair and large rosy lips approached, placing her suitcase and caged owl down onto the wooden ground. "Sorry if I'm interrupting something."

Natasha gave her a gentle smile, her irises unconsciously blossoming into a friendly shade of blue. "You're not interrupting anything, Rose," she said, enveloping her arms around the tiny girl. Rose was one of those people who could do absolutely nothing wrong no matter how hard she tried. A sister Vulpes, she was somewhat shy, but far from insensitive. Unfortunately, the arrogant pricks who made blood purity their religion considered her an anomaly, as she was a muggle-born witch, and a target to their abuse. Still, she wasn't alone, because whenever those troublemakers talked about Rose behind her back, Natasha was always there to stick up for her.

It was while she was hugging Rose that the metamorphmagi spotted another familiar face. Wavy blonde hair, chiseled features, broad body and stubbly chin. None other than the famous Abraham Delavergne himself. An Arietem, yes, but one of the better ones.

His hands stuffed in his jean pockets, the Quidditch captain gazed at Natasha, Waylon and Rose with inviting eyes. "Hello," he greeted the three of them once he was in close proximity. He stared at the Cervus head boy for a second, and then his eyes trailed to Rose, where they stayed put. While his mouth curled up into a smirk and awkward silence filled the air, Natasha furrowed her brows, a sardonic scoff escaping her lips.

"Hello? Just hello???" she teased, "Abraham Claude Delavergne, if you came all this way just to be uncharacteristically taciturn, then I suggest you either leave this conversation, or return to your usual outgoing disposition."

She wrapped her arms around him as well, giving a low chuckle in her normal sultry tone. She didn't talk to him much, or at least she didn't think she did. Regardless, he was a Quidditch player and so was she, and the upcoming games they would play this season would be their last. If a hug wasn't appropriate now, then it would never be in the days to come.

Her eyes flickered to Waylon, Rose, and Abraham respectively. "I want to see you all in my compartment later," she said, "the one that I'm going to go find right now before the boat starts setting sail. I'll be back."

But just before she could leave the semi-circle, Stephen Notwood stepped in front of her.

"Sterling silver today, Natasha? You wear it well, as always" he said. She didn't talk to him much, but that still didn't give her an excuse not to smile at him. She placed one hand in her pocket and used the other to tuck a loose strand of white-grey hair behind her cute little ear.

"Thank you," she grinned, scurrying past him. She had mixed opinions about Stephen Notwood, but couldn't help beaming at his compliment. After all, boys rarely gave her praise for her appearance...no matter how much it changed. For girls it was a different story, but the opposite sex was a little bit more difficult to impress.

On her search to find an empty cabin, she saw another boy named Stephen, a classmate she knew somewhat better than the last. He was a Ferres, a straight-A student, and the most mysterious male-human-person that Natasha Daggerman had ever seen in her entire life. What was it about Stephen Schwarz that fascinated her? Was it his introverted nature? His brilliant mind? The fact that his name was ironically similar in sound to that of a famous Broadway composer?

It was all of that, and one other thing. Every time she gazed upon him, he looked like a perfect pane of glass; fragile, yet shimmering in the light. She kept admitting to herself that she wasn't attracted to him, but by god, was he beautiful. Not in a conventional sense, but in an abstract one. Natasha found no difficulty in starting a conversation with anyone, but with Stephen...well, that was a challenge. What she wouldn't give to get to know him. She would talk to him this year. Or perhaps she would dare herself to. Even if she did, she doubted the task would be possible.




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"Sorry, miss" hummed a husky voice located on the lower deck of the ship. Jet-black hair slicked back behind him, a cleft chin littered with stubble, and a lean figure; these were the features of the infamous Gideon Caulfield. The seventh-year student with a task always on his mind. A teenager with a mind more mature than his physical appearance.

He slithered through the cruise ship, opening every single compartment door, promptly slamming them shut once he failed to find the person he was looking for. He was causing a commotion amongst the people sitting silently in their quarters, but then again, when wasn't he causing a commotion?

He opened another door, this time smirking devilishly as he found Bobby Burkinson quietly resting by his lonesome. This boy was his target.

"Hello there, fellow Arietem," Gideon spoke, entering the small space and gingerly closing the door behind him. He took a seat opposite the sixteen-year-old, gazing at him like a predator does prey. "Word's spreading around like wildfire that one of the trolley ladies told you off for slamming a door in her face. Don't worry, I'm well aware of the real truth, as I have my methods," he chuckled curtly, "but your behavior has speculated me to believe that your presence would be greatly needed in a private group that I have been tasked with promoting..."

He pulled out a parcel of paper and, with his thorny black wand, used a telekinetic-like spell to make a feather quill float towards the boy in front of him. He handed Bobby the paper, which, in capital letters, had the words Junior Death Eaters scribbled up at the top. There were two names below it - Aleksander Krumm, and Gideon Caulfield.

"Now, I'm not your mother or anything, but I'd just like to tell you why it would be awfully profitable for a person of your ambition to enroll in this." He crossed his legs, every part of his body attaining a relaxed, enticing quality. "The Death Eaters, or the Knights of Walpurgis as they were initially called, was a prominent English organization that appeared throughout the 70's and 90's. Their goal was to spread the goodness of pureblood supremacy and eradicate the filth that was muggles and mudbloods. And they succeeded to an extent, but eventually failed at the hands of a certain Harry Potter and his loyal disciples."

His eyes darted around the room for a while, but eventually chained themselves back to Bobby's. "Now, I'm not asking you to join an organization. I'm asking you to join a group that will promote the message of the original Death Eaters, but in a much more modern, enthusiastic, and well..." he glumly exhaled, "understandable way. You see, the original Death Eaters scared the public in order to promote their message. With their force, they encouraged the public to believe that they were a radical terrorist group, which in reality was so far from the truth, that Merlin himself was rolling in his grave. They were missionaries, not monsters..."

He leaned in closer to Bobby.

"Listen...I, as well as others you'd surely love to meet, want potential for this group. You should consider it an absolute honor to be briefed about this in the first place. After all, with your talent, Bobby Burkinson, we could definitely use you. Ask me what you'd be getting in return, and we'll be in business, my friend," he smirked.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Natasha Daggerman Character Portrait: Natalie Dumonte Character Portrait: Waylon W. Wolfsbach Character Portrait: Isabella Gray Character Portrait: Stephen Schwarz Character Portrait: Gideon Caulfield Character Portrait: Bobby Burkinson Character Portrait: Nora Selene Gray Character Portrait: Robert McCullough Character Portrait: Abraham Delavergne Character Portrait: Rose Aguilera Character Portrait: Acadia Peltzer Character Portrait: Teddy Mooreland Character Portrait: Stephen Notwood Character Portrait: Luciana Salinger Character Portrait: Corky De Luca Character Portrait: Avery Blake Character Portrait: Zoe DiLaurentis
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Bobby stood at the front of the cruise, looking on at the sight of Magnus with awe and aspiration within. He couldn't control how much his lust for returning outpaced itself. "Ah, fresh air indeed.. He thought silently to himself. He fixed his posture and licked his lips, followed by untying the knot in his freshly green tie. Bobby sniffed, once and again, finding himself uncontrollably sneezing at that. He whipped his nose with his arm, shaking his head as a sign of relief as he peaked over, noticing something strangely odd, grotesque rising to the top of the ocean losing all hope as his face changed from relief to horror within seconds.

They were humongous, rising in the league of hundreds, mermen and maid alike. All holding on tightly to their tridents and pitchforks. But they were waiting, almost as though they had been signaled. With shock came blood, as the skies lit up in a dash of multiple colors, snakes in fact, swirling around the other, almost hissing like a python in the Egyptian deserts. He gripped tightly onto his wand, turning left to face the cold that awaited him.

Men, covered in masks and smoke. Demons he thought? But he knew all too well for what was to come. Screams filled the air, followed by laughter and spells shouting left and right from one another. He fell down, watching the death eaters board the cruise one by one, filling what joy the students had with coldness, rain and death.

He pulled out his wand, breathing heavily with short pauses to catch his breath. Where were the others? Were they safe? Secure? His thoughts mesmerized and changed, crossing his arms as he hid under the cupboard by the deck, surrounded by spells shooting back and forth. "We're at deck! We're at deck!" The captain cried, stopping the cruise to a halt as Bobby exited. Pushing, following and running for his life.

"Dementors! Dementors!" A poor young girl screamed, pointing to the skies as they fell like rain. Bobby could see the carriages in clear view that would lead him to the school, safe and unharmed. He sped up his pace and ran, turning his back to see an all out war still on the cruise. "Faster, I must.." He repeated by the dozens. He could see it, the carriage just a few distances away, finally, he had made it.

Too soon the boy had hoped. Bobby clenched hard onto the carriage door, unknowingly realizing his fate would be decided right there. A word came..followed by a flash of green light. Bobby hit the floor with a face that had been filled with pink now cold like ice. He was dead.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Natasha Daggerman Character Portrait: Waylon W. Wolfsbach Character Portrait: Stephen Schwarz Character Portrait: Gideon Caulfield Character Portrait: Bobby Burkinson Character Portrait: Abraham Delavergne Character Portrait: Rose Aguilera
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There was a full-blown storm outside now. Waylon, as well as his wolf, Florence, had finally returned to the cabin. “Damn straight! The ocean's full of surprises." he quipped at Natasha's comment, "That' why I don't trust it. You can't be swept up in a typhoon or a hurricane or a kracken's belly in the middle of a farm. Only thing you gotta fear is a skeeter. Or cockroaches! Ewww. Or maybe getting' chopped up by some weirdo with a chainsaw. That's always fun.”

Suddenly, Natasha felt something drop onto her lap.

Stephen had replied.

"Natasha, Schwarz, Abraham. What are y'all gonna do after the school year? What's the plan? asked Waylon. "I'd ask you too, Rose," he added as an afterthought, "but you've got a couple more to go. But what do you have planned in the meantime?" Natasha then pulled up the paper and promptly read Stephen's handwriting...

I. Hello, love.

Love? She raised a brow and smirked. What an interesting choice of words.

"....I haven't exactly settled on something, so nothing is set in stone... muttered Stephen in response to Waylon's question, "however, I am considering being an Auror. That has always seemed like a rewarding position."

She read over his second reply...

II. Imagine a fate worse than death. Your spirit being sucked out of you like some sort of delicious elixir of life by these creatures. The Dementor's Kiss was used by The Ministry of Magic as a sentence for the most 'heinous' of criminals...it was more fun for them to watch than to simply dispose of them through more...permanent means.

She stared at his words for a moment, letting their intensity process into her brain, and then shuddered. She felt sorry for the muggle out there who had to suffer such a traumatizing experience. A part of her hoped that she would never have to experience the same thing.

While Abraham was talking, she inspected Stephen's third and final reply, shuddering more than the last response he had written. Her heart dropped into her stomach as she read...

III. I do not want to be the bearer of bad news, but I am afraid that it is possible for an attack like this to happen on the island. Actually there is no doubt in my mind that it may very well happen. Nothing feels like it once did. It no longer feels...as safe as it did.

He could write that last sentence again. When she had first read the article, Natasha wondered whether or not it was wise to alert the headmaster and faculty of the dementors and the threat they posed to Magnus Grexx. With Stephen's answers, she supposed they already knew. Like he had stated, nothing felt like it once did...

Natasha then opened her mouth to answer Waylon's question. That's when the sound of distant screams filled the silence. They came from above, and struck fear into the hearts of everyone in the compartment.

"What was that?" Natasha asked after faintly hearing another frightening noise. It sounded like lightening...or perhaps an explosion...

Just then, a blood-curdling scream filled the air.

"DEMENTORS! DEMENTORS!" shouted a female voice.

What a coincidence.

Like a moth flew toward a flame, Stephen tore the door open and flew out into the hall, past the curious heads that were peeking out through the doorways. Natasha rose from her seat. Abraham exited into the hall as well.

"Wait, guys..."

But before she had the chance to escape the compartment herself, the door in front of her slammed shut, followed by a heartbreaking clicking sound.

"No, no, NOOO!!!" she roared, pounding her fists against the wood. Her stomach was twisting in knots.

"Son of a banshee jinxed the doors shut..." she angrily exhaled. Furious, she pulled out her wand and gazed out the window. Dementors and colored lights from cast spells were flying all over the place. Fortunately, the ship was close to the dock, the carriages not too far away...

She turned to Waylon and Rose. "Stand back..." she commanded, guiding them behind her, and getting as far away from the window as she possibly could before pointing her wand at the wall.

"BOMBARDA!!!"

She coughed as a cloud of sawdust filled her lungs. Fortunately, the mini explosion had teared open the wood, allowing an escape from the ship. With haste, Natasha ran forward, jumping feet-first into the cold waters below. The waves were angry and she had to dive into the water once or twice to avoid a ricocheting spell, but eventually she was able to pull herself up onto the docks.

It was out of the corner of her eye that she saw the body of Bobby Burkinson sprawled out on the ground nearby. From his pale face and stunned expression, she knew he was clearly dead. There were masked figures and hooded dementors everywhere, but to her chagrin, there were no teachers around. If they didn't come soon enough, the ship sitting behind her would surely turn into a slaughterhouse.

With an unsaid spell, Natasha paralyzed the masked man in front of her, allowing a clear path to the quarterdeck. Breath short, Natasha shouted, "ABRAHAM! STEPHEN!" and ran full-force onto the ship. Another masked man grabbed her from behind. She swiftly kicked him in the groin, turning around and yelling, "Expelliarmus!" The man's wand gone, she finished him off with a quick stupefy, and continued forward.

It was then that she saw Stephen Schwarz collapse onto the ground, a tall male figure heartlessly looming over him. An echo of the word "Crucio" still hung in the chilled air, and it was upon the curse's utterance into her wet ears that Natasha bore a terrifying scowl. She seethingly pointed her wand right at the masked man's heart.

"REDUCTO!"

With a huge blast of blue light, the man flew far past the deck of the ship, giving a distant shriek as he landed head-first into the depths of the black ocean below.

Natasha then ran towards Stephen, crouching over his motionless body. "Stephen wake up!" she shook him, inhaling and exhaling the air so fast, that she was starting to choke. "Stephen, PLEASE WAKE UP!!"

"You go," said a calm voice above her, "I'll take care of him."

She looked up to find Gideon Caulfield peering down at her with slanted eyes. She didn't completely trust him with Stephen, but with the chaos that surrounded them, what choice did she have?

Giving him a curt nod, she got up to her feet, watching him effortlessly pick up the Ferres boy and swing his body over his broad shoulder. Natasha then sprinted towards the beach, hoping to clear out the area for innocent first years trying to escape the quarrel.

That's when a dark figure sprung out from the depths of the water below, pushing Natasha back onto the sand.

She looked at the hooded figure and grunted. "Potrificus Totalus!" she roared, but it was no use; the closer the creature got to her, the more she felt drawn into its cold, biting breath. Suddenly, everything felt hopeless and dark, and she was losing more of her already blurred vision.

She waved her wand again, only to be met by another fearsome dementor. The stick of magical hickory wood keeping her alive then flew from her hand onto the beach as if to mock her. Slowly, Natasha could feel her entire body sink into the sand below.

"No, no, no..." she painfully whispered before the ground rose up to meet her.

Another came. And then another. Before she knew it, the whirling sensation of the dementors' powers sent her into a painful vertigo. Blackness filled her entire body. The last thing she heard before passing out was the familiar sound of a little girl screaming.




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"You just keep getting heavier and heavier, don't you..." Gideon mirthlessly mused. He laughed at his current predicament. The funniest thing about carrying a limp boy through the raging tides of war was that it wasn't funny at all. Sauntering through the battlefield as though he were invincible, the cunning Arietem made his way towards the safety of the pitch-black forest nearby. The carriages were a faster way to get to the castle, yes, but Bobby Burkinson had used his last breath trying to reach the carriages, henceforth, the carriages were a waste of time. Right now, time was the most precious thing that the terrified students possessed. Once it ran out for all of them, the school would surely be doomed.

"Periculum!" he cried, sending a wave of red sparks into the rainstorm before his body was enveloped in leafy bushes and moody pine trees. He'd have to navigate his way from the docks to the castle without the use of a road. Fortunately, Gideon knew the forest area of the island like the back of his hand. After all, his friends hid in the woods every year in order to make campfires, drink smuggled firewhiskey, and practice dark magic without the headmaster's knowing.

The farther he journeyed into the vegetation, the more distant the sounds of screams and spells became. For a moment, it was almost peaceful. Schwarz weighing practically nothing now, Gideon rose his wand and whispered, "Lumos."This created a light on the tip of his wand bright enough to see the beetles and other insects that crawled upon the moist forest floor.

At first, all Gideon could hear was the sound of raindrops pounding against the trees, as well as his shoes imprinting into the squishy mud below. And then a boom filled the air, and he turned to notice the dark mark appear throughout the sky.

The symbol was a lot bigger than he thought it would be, but ultimately less impacting than seeing it inked upon his parents' forearms. He gazed upon it impassively. It was a historical moment, as it marked the return of the notorious Death Eaters. Still, it reminded Gideon of the many classmates and friends that would feel the group's painful wrath. It was a satisfying moment for him, but not in a happy, joyful sense.

Suddenly, there was a rustling sound.

He drew his wand, gazing upon a masked figure wearing a black robe. Another Death Eater, but a straggler.

As the man drew his out his own wand, Gideon quickly unrolled his shirt sleeve, revealing a black woven bracelet with two glass charms attached to it. One was a transparent skull, the other, a full moon.

"Remember the deal..." he sultrily murmured to the man. With a sigh, the Death Eater put his wand back in his pocket, and turned back around. It was then that Gideon took the liberty to stun him by uttering a quick killing curse. The poor man went down more dramatically than Bobby Burkinson, and for a second, the Arietem found himself chuckling. He had no qualms with killing. In fact, he was used to it by now.

A few minutes later, the towering walls of the castle came into view. "Almost there..." he whispered to the boy still draped across his shoulder. Gideon checked behind him before retreating the woods and tromping up the steps of the school. Hurriedly, he knocked on the large doors, hoping he'd be able to sneak inside Magnus Grexx before the rest of the Death Eaters did.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Natasha Daggerman Character Portrait: Waylon W. Wolfsbach Character Portrait: Stephen Schwarz Character Portrait: Gideon Caulfield Character Portrait: Abraham Delavergne
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He was not dead, that he knew for sure. Unconscious, but not dead.

He was watching himself through somebody else’s eyes, and he recognized his surroundings immediately. The disheveled yet somehow organized mess in the kitchen of his Connecticut home, with his mother sitting at the table across from an eleven year old, lanky, freckled boy. The boy watched as his mother flipped through the pages of a physics textbook wordlessly, how her nose crinkled as she read and concentrated. Why was he having this memory now? What was the significance of it?

But in a way, he knew. This was before the acceptance letter had arrived, before the tension had settled into the Schwarz household like a fourth family member. Oh, how he had wanted to please his mother and be…normal. Follow in her footsteps, so to speak.

Before he could get a firm grasp on the memory, it began fading like fine mist until he was surrounded by nothing. The dark was like a cloak that suddenly wrapped itself around him, one that he could not shake off.

He was not dead. He was not dead. He was not dead.


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It took a moment for Abraham to realize that they were docked and that he could flee the ship in search for help. But what was to become of the first years still locked below? Were they safe down there? A thousand questions hung in the air but he did not have time to answer any of them, for more Dementors were hovering closer.

In a series of quick steps he dashed off through the scurrying crowd, throwing out hexes here and there when he needed to, and once he finally made it off the ship and on the shore he remembered. Where the hell was Waylon?!

“Fuck,” he cursed angrily, but before he could look back he saw a swarm of Dementors all gathered around what was probably a helpless person.

“No no no no,” he started, then began racing in that general direction, his wand clutched tightly in his right fist. The only way to get rid of the appalling creatures was by using the Expecto Patronum spell, and other than performing it in class for practice he had never had to do it in real world situations. There was no time to waste in debating whether or not do try it, however, and after stopping twenty feet away from the hooded creatures Abraham closed his eyes and thought back to his happiest memory so far. Arietem winning the house cup last year, the beautiful feast that followed afterwards.

“EXPECTO PATRONUM!” he shouted while pointing his wand towards the creatures, and out of the white mist that began pouring from the tip of the wand emerged a glorious lion that ran full speed towards its target. It collided with the Dementors silently and as soon as they began to recede, Abraham reached whom he finally saw as the victim: Natasha.

Every last ounce of bravery he felt dissipated as he crouched down next to the weak girl; he was feeling sick to his stomach. “Natasha,” he began softly, then pulled her into his arms. “Natasha, answer me,” he tried again, but his voice was failing him. Everything around him was coming to an end, and the worst part was that just an hour before everything was joyful. Colorful. Full of life.

Wherever the Dementors went, they took the last of the happiness with them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Natasha Daggerman Character Portrait: Waylon W. Wolfsbach Character Portrait: Stephen Schwarz Character Portrait: Gideon Caulfield Character Portrait: Abraham Delavergne Character Portrait: HeadMaster
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Imagine a fate worse than death...

Your spirit being sucked out of you like some sort of delicious elixir of life by these creatures...


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The girls in the chamber began squealing with laughter as gravity punched Natasha down. Her robes tattered and torn, she grimaced as the cold stone slapped hard against her bruised face, making her eyes bulge out of their sockets. Even though she experienced it more than most, the girl had never handled physical pain very well.

"Well, Scarface, are you just gonna sit there," giggled Sadie, "or am I going to have to drag you by your knotty hair again?"

In the torchlight, her face glowed hauntingly, as though she were a bare-boned demon. She had snatched up Natasha's knife in her left hand, while her right hand still contained the knife that had started this brutal showdown in the first place.

The metamorphmagi refused to stand up. Right now, dying seemed much more pleasant than getting kicked in the ass again, and if she were going to draw her last breath in this makeshift arena like a defeated gladiator lying dead in the Colosseum, then so be it. The institute's darkly-lit crypts would serve as a very nice tomb for her tiny, thin corpse.

But the more Natasha planned the details of her funeral, the more impatient Sadie grew. "I said GET UP!" she shouted, "If not, I swear on the headmistress' grave I'll gut you in two!!!"

The audience laughed. It was funny because Sadie was actually the headmistress' daughter.

Still, Natasha refused to budge. Her eyes stung so bad, that she dared not cry, as doing so would only cause more pain. With trepidation, she touched her hand to her face, shuddering at the sight of the heavy blood that painted her fingertips.

"I don't think she's moving," muttered Dorothea Slate. In manners and appearance, she was no better than Sadie. Whispers and giggles filled the air as the tension of what would happen next popped into the minds of every fourth year. The word coward was used quite a few times.

"Well then, as my grandfather used to tell me, if a puppet doesn't want to move, then you just have to pull at its strings..."

A faint gasp was heard. Natasha looked up to find Carlie Glimwood, the closest person she had to a best friend, in Sadie's custody, the bloody knife pressed against her long, pale neck. She would've told Carlie to run, as there was nobody behind her, and plenty of space between her body and the chamber door. If Sadie attempted to slash at Carlie's face as well, the effort would be futile, as the young girl would have a much more favorable chance of escape. However, there was just one teensy tiny problem...Carlie Glimwood was both blind and deaf.

"Let her go! You can hurt me all you want...you can lock my body in a coffin for all I care...just please don't touch her!!!"

Natasha's battered breath was useless. Sadie just chuckled. The teeth in her twisted smile were so sharp, they looked just like fangs.

"PLEASE!!!!"

With the loudest scream she had ever shot in her life, the metamorphmagi slumped to the floor. It was over. It was all over...

And then Sadie's breath trickled in the air like a flickering candle. "That's actually a very good idea...Y'know what...I like it." She turned to her group of goons. They all knew what to do. "LEVICORPUS!"

Natasha didn't fight back. As she hung upside down in the air, she heard the vengeful farewells of her fellow classmates grow more and more distant. She closed her eyes. It was sick to think that she deserved all of this, but she did. If only she had heeded the gossip's advice...if only she had made different choices.

If only she had been more intelligent...then perhaps none of this would have ever happened.

The door opened to a room with metal chains and a dusty wooden floor. Her ears were ringing, but Natasha could still make out the spells that caused the planks of wood below to open.

Her limp body dropped inside the improvised sarcophagus. Sadie, as well as Dorothea and another girl, gazed over her tattered flesh with both triumph and pity.

"Sweet dreams, Natasha Daggerman."

And with that, the broken planks of wood began to move back to their original places. The door to the sarcophagus was closing over her, and she'd be sleeping underneath the floorboards for the night.

In other words, it was a claustrophobic's worst nightmare.

With the little ounce of strength she had left, the metamorphmagi furiously screamed as her bruised fingers banged hard against the wood that lay just inches above her face.

It was at that moment, as she lay unconscious in Abraham's protective arms, that her closed eyelids gave the slightest stir.

She was not yet awake, but she sure as hell wasn't asleep.




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Soaking wet, Gideon knocked on the castle door once again, his patience growing thin. He waited a few minutes, and then knocked again. And again. Still, no one answered.

Either the teachers and headmaster were ignoring him inside their sanctuary, or they had all apparated to the battlefield. Perhaps it was a combination of the two. Nevertheless, Gideon was determined to reach his destination. He didn't know how much longer he could take wearing Stephen Schwarz on his shoulder like a sash.

There was no way he could unlock the door. After all, there were no locks or keyholes to use alohomora on, and the entranceway was bewitched to knock back any attempted explosions. Therefore, Gideon would have to find another way into the castle...and quickly.

He'd have to go around...

Or perhaps up...

About thirty feet above him stood a walkway perched directly on top of the castle gate. It was narrow, but well sealed with ledges and ionic columns. From there it was possible to head straight to the infirmary, as well as the extra-curricular house if you took the long way around. In a short while, it would also serve as Gideon's landing pad.

At least, that was if he was able to make the jump. Shakily, he emitted a miasma of nervous energy, locked his jaw, and gazed up at his destination. It was hard to be confident about such a move when your greatest fear was heights. To Gideon, falling down to his doom instead of getting pummeled by Death Eaters like the rest of the students seemed like a terrible and pathetic way to go.

Still, he knew the two spells he would need to make it. All he had to do was say them clearly, point in the right direction, and pray that nothing would go wrong.

"This is going to be some pretty trippy shit," he grumbled. He looked back at Stephen one last time.

"Sit tight in your chair, Stephen Hawking," he said before pointing his wand up towards the grey sky and yelling, "ASCENDIO!"

As though Gideon were a bullet, he shot straight up into the heavens, the walkway just fifteen feet below him. Empty atmosphere all around, he anxiously panted in and out through his mouth like a tired dog. The Arietem dared not look down, for fear of passing out while in the air and never waking back up again. He gripped on to Stephen's body tightly, as though he were a living parachute. Eventually, the earth's magnitude forced Gideon to stop rising. He started to fall down faster than he had flown up.

The seventeen-year-old pointed his wand directly at his feet. This was going to be the tricky part.

"ARRESTO MOMENTUM!" he cried. At first, nothing happened, and then slowly he felt the air around him turn soft and cushiony as though he were sinking down to the bottom of a fishbowl.

Propelling himself across the ledge onto the walkway, the restless teenager ran straight towards the infirmary as soon as his feet touched solid ground.

He shoved the door open, making the matron squeal in consternation. Clearly, she wasn't expecting his surprise visit.

"Why sir, what are you-"

"Is the headmaster aware of the fact that the cruise ship is currently being attacked by dementors and Death Eaters?" he spat.

The nurse's eyes widened in shock and fear. Her words were lost in her throat for a second before she managed to cough up,"I do not know, but I will surely go alert him." She then scurried away, quickly turning around for a moment and adding, "Is that boy you have there hurt?" as an afterthought.

"Not hurt," he answered, "just unconscious."

"Lie him on a bed then," she retorted, "I'll attend to him as soon as this is over."

Once she left the infirmary, Gideon placed Stephen on one of the empty beds, finding a nearby chair to rest upon while he gazed out the foggy window. He slumped back, running an exhausted hand through his slicked-back hair.

The young man sighed. "I'm sure you'll have plenty more in here worse than him..." he mused to himself as though the nurse were still able to hear him.

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Character Portrait: Stephen Schwarz Character Portrait: Gideon Caulfield
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He was somewhere between the realm of consciousness and sleep. The phase where at any moment the body could succumb to sleep but the slightest noise or disturbance would bring it right out of that. He knew that if he attempted to open his eyes the searing pain would return; it was still pulsing through the crevices of his skull and in his lanky limbs.

It felt as if electricity had raced through every cell and left in its path a dull, throbbing sensation that lingered after every pulse. It hurt to swallow, and speaking was certainly out of the question.

As he laid there with his eyes closed, Stephen began recalling the events that had led up to his current state. For a moment he had to question how long he had been out cold; time felt like a nonexistent thing and the only way he could currently keep it was to count how many times his head throbbed. It was an inner clock, and after he reached sixty times he restarted the count. It was uncomfortably quiet within the confines of whatever room he was in, too quiet.

More than likely he was currently in the infirmary, and after noticing the smell of healing potions and freshly sanitized sheets floating about in the cold room, he knew his suspicions were correct. But how did he get there? Did Abraham carry him there? Was Abraham even alive? Was STEPHEN alive? What if the Death Eater had finished him off and he truly WAS dead, and this as some sort of after-life? Considering the possibility made his migraine ignite with a vengeance so powerful, he had to fight back a groan.

The harsh realization suddenly hit him and it hurt more than the bloody curse he was forced to endure did. Stephen had failed. He was supposed to fight and get the students off of the ship, but he had failed in epic proportions. Another possibility suddenly reared its head out: what if the students he left down below the deck died? The thought alone was enough to make him want to sink through the bed, through the floor and into the soil below the floors of the castle. Besides, he was as good as dead if his theory was correct.

Slowly, he began to open his green eyes, only to find that there were several cracks in his vision. At first he questioned if the curse permanently damaged eyesight and he just so happened to skip over that part in the textbook, but it didn't take long for him to figure out that it was just the result of his glasses shattering against the hardwood dock. The hairline cracks in the glasses caught the light coming from the candles in the chandeliers above, which only made the migraine swell with bubbles of fresh pain.

Once again he closed his eyes and for the first time, actually pretended to be dead. He wished more than anything in that moment that the neurons in his brain would just disintegrate, his heart would stop pumping and the decaying process would take it from there.

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Character Portrait: Stephen Schwarz Character Portrait: Gideon Caulfield Character Portrait: Rose Aguilera Character Portrait: HeadMaster
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Through the windowpane, he could just make out the flashes of light that shined half a mile away from where he was comfortably sitting. He sighed. It was improper of him to be laying low like a coward instead of joining in the fight. But what else could he do? He wasn't on a side. He was neutral in the midst of chaos. Entering it wouldn't be a part of the agreement. Still, he did have immunity. Perhaps it would be wise to witness the events that were unfolding outside. That way, if no one besides him survived, he would have the opportunity to know the truth, and even stretch it for the public if need be...

Before he exited the infirmary, he gave a long, grey gaze at Stephen Schwarz's eyelids. They twitched with uncertainty. Gideon knew that the boy would be regaining consciousness soon.

"If you can hear me," he drawled, leaning towards the boy's ear, "know that I did not save your life gratis. I expect something in return."

He gave a wolfish smirk, and then sauntered out the door.

It did not take him long to reach where the battle was ensuing. However, once he approached the docks, Gideon realized that the fighting had already commenced. The students were now grouping together, silently rambling along the road that led to the castle gates. Despite the inevitable gloom that hung in the air, there were a few small smiles plastered on some of the first years' faces. Clearly, tragedy could not bring down the innocence of inexperienced children.

And then he felt a gentle tug at his feet.

He looked down to find a girl with doe-like eyes and large rosy lips lying peacefully in the mud. There was a stunned expression on her face, her skin was as pale as the grey clouds above, and her hazel locks had been trampled down into the earth below. Although dirty, her tree root hair was still stunningly beautiful. The image was horrifying, yet tranquil at the same time. Gideon didn't even need to check her pulse. It was apparent that she was dead.

He crouched down, inspecting her visage. This girl was Rose Aguilera, a brilliant Vulpes whose silence had been more familiar to others than her prepossesing face. The members of his house had always accused her of bearing an inferior mudblood title, but now that she was the second student to have died in the crossfire, perhaps the jeers would cease. Hopefully they would. After all, there was a time when he did have feelings for the girl. Gazing upon her lifeless body only reminded him of all the moments he had wanted to stand up for her, but never got the courage to do so...

He gently picked up the girl, no tears shedding from his eyes. Her mud and dirt scattered onto his fingers and shrouds, making him feel as though he were also consumed by death's appalling clutch. A teacher spotted him, and Gideon was forced to explain his actions. The professor then offered to carry Rose back to the castle, as students were supposed to be gathering inside the dining hall. Gideon, on the other hand, would have to break the news to them all.

As he walked through empty space with languid steps, he was surprised to find that despite what had just occurred, the tables of students were just as chatty as ever. Still, it was apparent that fear cowered behind toothy smiles, and laughter was laced with apprehension.

Noticing the Headmaster approaching in front of him, Gideon blocked his path, and locked his gaze down at the stone floor before whispering, "Rose Aguilera is also dead."

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Character Portrait: Natasha Daggerman Character Portrait: Waylon W. Wolfsbach Character Portrait: Stephen Schwarz Character Portrait: Gideon Caulfield Character Portrait: Abraham Delavergne
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"If you can hear me, know that I did not save your life gratis. I expect something in return."

He could have recognized that voice anywhere; the smug, narcissistic voice of Gideon Caulfield. It was impossible to miss really, not because Stephen spent a significant amount time with the boy but simply because Gideon had been hard to avoid the past six years. Something about him did not sit well with Stephen; the majority of the time Gideon seemed to be just as emotionless as the Headmaster was, but it was an ominous type of emotionless that Stephen wanted no part of.

Without even opening his eyes, Stephen knew that the creepy Arietem probably had one of those obnoxious smirks that he loved to wear so much on his face, and it was as he heard him walking away that Stephen popped his eyes open and caught a glimpse of Gideon's back as he made his way towards the exit. "Fuck you," he retorted, half shouting the words. He surprised even himself with the harsh outburst, but he was beyond the point of caring.

By this point he was well adjusted to the never-ending throbbing in his head, and after another moment or two of staring at the ceiling, the Prefect slowly sat up, swung his legs off of the bed and removed his shattered glasses off the bridge of his nose with his left hand. The damage seemed minimal; nothing a simple spell wouldn't fix. The only problem was, he couldn't even begin to guess where his wand was, and with that thought came a dull, disappointed ache in the center of his chest. All he could do was hope that someone had located it and it would get returned to him.

Before he could give it too much thought, the sound of footsteps echoed down the hall towards the infirmary, and a moment later Abraham walked in, determined and sure of himself as always, a person hung over his shoulder. Waylon trailed in right behind him, and Stephen noticed they were joined at the hands. Fantastic, he thought to himself sarcastically, and more than anything he wished that he had the strength to just storm out of the room without a word to either of them. The last thing he wanted at the moment was conversation, but suddenly it was unavoidable, because Abraham quickly spotted him, then made his way over hurriedly, set the unconscious person on his shoulder down on the bed next to Stephen's and turned to face him. "Schwarz, are you alright? It's bad, it's really bad, they got—"

He realized who the person was before Abraham even finished his sentence, and upon seeing Natasha Daggerman's expressionless, pallid face he began shaking his head rapidly, which made his migraine flare up with every brusque movement. "No, no no no," he uttered, and Abraham must have seen the horror in his face because in a moment he stepped over and placed both of his hands on Stephen's shoulders.

"She's not dead, she's not dead Schwarz, the Dementors attacked her," he assured Stephen, meeting his eyes in the process, then proceeded to grip the boy's face with one hand. "The Headmaster knows, him and the faculty got everything under control. You can't lose your mind right now, now isn't the time—"

The sudden outburst was unavoidable, like two trains colliding; there was nothing one could do but watch and wait for it to be over. "WHO DIED AND MADE YOU PREFECT ALL OF A SUDDEN?" Stephen raged, then slapped Abraham's attempts at comfort away. He was on fire; whatever self-control he had and practiced had hid somewhere deep inside of him, somewhere where he could not find it. When he saw that Abraham had gone silent and his expression changed to one of surprise and, of all things, one of hurt, it fueled Stephen to stand to his feet and continue. "I HATE YOU, I fucking DESPISE you, for the past SIX YEARS you have made my life a fucking JOKE at this school, YOU ridiculed me, made me look like nothing more than a fucking SPAZ, and now, in the midst of disaster, you decide to be NICE to me? I don't need your encouragement, I am NOT losing my mind, fuck you, YOU'RE losing YOUR mind!!"

The more he went on, the further he sank. Abraham watched him with a look of pity that only meant Stephen WAS in fact losing his mind, and it was that look of pity that truly made him feel as if he was slowly but surely falling into the brink of insanity. As his voice failed him and he closed his mouth, a shocked silence settled on the room. It felt like minutes before another sound was made, and that was the sound of Abraham's soft voice.

"...Bobby Burkinson died. And Headmaster made me Prefect. Just so you know."

Stephen couldn't help but notice the short-lived smirk on Abraham's lips, one that did not last more than a second at most. Nevertheless, it had been there, and even as it left the chill that it brought in Stephen's heart remained.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Natasha Daggerman Character Portrait: Waylon W. Wolfsbach Character Portrait: Stephen Schwarz Character Portrait: Gideon Caulfield Character Portrait: Abraham Delavergne Character Portrait: Rose Aguilera
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"Rose is dead," came an answer from the other side of the room. Gideon Caulfield had snuck into the infirmary unnoticed. His abrupt appearance wasn't too suprising. Quiet and stealthy, the boy was like a ghost everywhere he went.

Just then, the room started to grow cold. Not just from the chill that came from the rain outside, but by the responses that materialized on every person's face.

"What..." Natasha Daggerman started, "what do you mean Rose is dead?"

"I mean precisely what I say," he replied back to the Vulpes with no drop of emotion, "Rose Aguillera is dead. I hate to say it so lightly, but the funeral service for her and Bobby Burkinson are going to be held tomorrow afternoon in the courtyard. The Headmaster's been all in a tizzy, what with two deaths in one day. It'd be best if we all paid our respects."

The girl's eyes narrowed. She was skeptical - clearly skeptical. "No, no, no..." she choked on her words, "no, I was there with her when the ship first got attacked, she couldn't have-"

"I was walking outside when the battle came to a close," he snapped back, "a Death Eater must have gotten the drop on her, because as I walked towards the docks, there she was...her body completely buried in the mud. I checked her pulse. There was nothing there, and there was nothing I could do. I'm sorry."

It was in that moment that Natasha Daggerman's face returned back to how it had been when she had lost consciousness. There was desolation imprinted in her eyes. She was in shock, but her aura was still sentient, still listening. Gideon pitied her. Being ravaged by dementors must have been easier than taking in this horrific information. After all, the girl was Rose's closest friend.

He stared at Abraham. Then Stephen. Then Waylon. Then finally, the floor below. He let out a sigh, and realigned the vetebrae of his spine. This was going to be excrutiatingly difficult.

"I have something to tell you all," he said, "something that I feel only you four should know." He paced the room, his hands trembling behind his back. There was a sort of whirling sensation that attempted to sweep him off his feet. Still, he had the strength to continue.

"I watched you fight on the docks this morning. None of you are like the rest of the lot that attends this crappy rubble of a private school," he said, "you know your stuff. You've done your research. If not for certain circumstances, you all could have picked off the entirety of those brutes one by one. You could snap them in half like toothpicks if you wanted to."

He was silent for a second, letting his words soak in. His head began to spin faster.

"I'm not going to say I was entirely innocent in the events that occured today," he said, trepidating fingers stroking through the back of his shaggy scalp. "However, I will say that I was completely unaware of the fact that they would take place on the ship. You see, I have, well...let's call them extended family in the terrorist group. They know me, and I know them. I am not affiliated with them, and they are not supposed to be affiliated with me. Today, they broke that rule..."

He pulled down the sleeve of his shirt, revealing a leather bracelet wrapped tightly around his wrist. On it were two milky-white charms. One was a full moon, the other, a skull.

"My parents were smart, y'see," he said, "they made a damn Unbreakable Vow with those radicals all the way back when I was a first-year. They made their friends swear not to harm me, or else they would suffer the penalty of death. Of course, that's what happens when you disagree to the terms of an Unbreakable Vow..."

He unlatched the bracelet from his wrist, holding it up for everyone to see. Although there was little light in the room, the charms gracefully glimmered as though they were made of sugar cubes.

"This is proof of the deal. The signature, as I like to call it. My parents have been making me wear it ever since that day so that I'll never risk getting caught in their crossfire...and now, well..."

He stared at it meticulously, as if looking for something that had never been there in the first place. Gideon gave a small shrug, and walked towards the foggy window pane on the other side of the room. He hastily opened it, let the bracelet dangle in the wind for a moment or two, and then let go, watching it as it dropped down into the bushes below.

He turned back to the four of them, a smirk on his face. "Now I'd rather take that risk so that I'd have reassurance that one of those bastards would meet their untimely demise."

He pulled out two wands from his back pockets. He tossed one to Stephen, while the other he threw in Natasha's direction.

"Found them on the docks," he said, "I confronted the teachers, and I believe those are yours. You'll need them," he said, "because I have a tremendous favor to ask the four of you."

Natasha's eyebrows furrowed. "What do you want?"

"I want an end to this suffering caused by the Death Eaters. I want an end to it before it even begins. And I want the four of you to come along with me. I want you all to at least consider it..."

He put one arm around Abraham, while the other he draped across Waylon's shoulder. "I think it's time we let the two of them rest." he said. "Besides, we have an interesting opening ceremony to attend. Best not be late..."

Gideon gave a small nod to both Stephen and Natasha before dragging Abraham and Waylon out the door. Once the walls of the infirmary were far away, he slammed it shut, and started to walk down the stairs. Of course, before he was gone, he had one final thing to say to the new prefect and his head boy companion.

"I don't like to beg but...please consider my offer," he melodically whispered, "if not for Rose's memory, then for yourselves."

And with that, Gideon Caulfied flew down the stairs, leaving Abraham and Waylon alone to themselves.




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When she was very young, Natasha had found a way to sneak into an amusement park through a chink in the metal fence that seperated the parking lot from the premises. There was this roller coaster that she always rode by herself whenever her dad was far away from home and she had the oppurtunity to live alone for a couple of days. The name was hard to remember, but the experience was not. There were so many corkscrews and vertical loops in the metal contraption that it was possible to completely lose yourself in the high-speed journey. One day, the ride had a technical malfunction, and the passengers got stuck upside-down. Natasha was one of those unfortunate passengers, and although the torture didn't last very long, it was still painful to feel all the blood escape from her body and sit in her head as though her cranium were a coconut filled with water. Now she was feeling the same exact thing as she tried to process the fact that her best friend had been horifically slaughtered by brutal Death Eaters without her protection.

Her hands started trepidating. The smile she had shown before now shrank back within her, and that dreaded emptiness began to spread again. The dementors were far away, but it felt like they were still there, floating above her.

There was a cooing sound coming from the opened window to her right. There, drenched in the rain, stood a snowy white owl that Natasha knew all too well.

Her lips began to quiver. Ginger stared at her as though she had taken the place of the creature's previous owner. How the bird had escaped its cage, she would never know, but she did understand why she had appeared in this place. It was something she didn't want to think about at the moment. She would just go take the bird and put it in the owlery or something. She would get Ginger out of the rain...

Slowly, her battered boots touched the stone floor. She was strong enough to walk, but not strong enough to keep the soul-sucking emptiness out of her stomach. A whirlpool of rage stirred within her mind, and every small step she took, the more violent it swirled. There was a prickly sensation forming behind her eyes again. She put one foot forward, and then another, and then another. By the time she was halfway to Ginger the owl, the weight of world had decided that it would no longer support her shaky balance. She slumped to the floor, her knees touching the ground, her weak fists pounding into the stone, and a loud cry of defeat penetrating through her dry lips.

And then it all came out. All of the despair she had been supressing throughout Gideon's entire conversation. A waterfall of tears exploded through her eye sockets, running down her cheeks and onto the floor. Her nose gushed a violent red color, and her hair started to frizz. This girl breaking down in the infarmary was completely different from the smiling, insensitive metamorphmagi people had come to know and love throughout the years. Her pettrifying wails filled up the entire room - they were loud enough to echo throughout the whole castle if the doors had not been shut.

"I'm sorry, Rose," she kept muttering through staggered, tear-stained breaths, "I'm so, so sorry..."

Her face buried itself into the ground, where the last of her sniffles and sobs disentigrated until they were barely audible. The bird in the windowsill just continued to stare at her, none of her howls seeming to make an impression on the creature's one-track mind.

Time slowed. The sound of rain filled the room again. Wheezing the last of her immediate emotions, Natasha Daggerman unsteadily sat herself upright. The way she still slumped, it almost appeared as though she would topple over and land in a makeshift fetal position. However, it seemed as though in that moment, she was being suspended by invisible strings.

She stared into space. Space, in all its cruelty, did not stare back. There was a void, and it completely consumed her.

"...I swore to protect her," she silently muttered, "I swore that I'd keep Rose safe. I swore that no bullies or enemies would ever harm her. Her life was so cold and dark already...she didn't need any more torture..."

The way her eyes were trained on the wall, it was hard to tell whether or not she was speaking to Stephen, or thin air.

"When I was enrolled in the Salem Institute, these girls challenged me to a knife fight simply because they hated me and they hated where I came from, and they particulary hated my powers," she said. "I was just sleeping the the dormitory only to be woken up and stunned right there, in the middle of the carpet. They thought it would be funny to drag me to the dungeons and force me into a battle with the headmistress's daughter. We used these real thin daggers of course...no wands, only daggers for a girl with the unfortunate last name of Daggerman..."

She wrapped her arms around her knees, gradually rocking back and forth. The whole world moved along with her.

"They dragged my friend, Carlie, down there too...she was blind and deaf and I was her friend simply because she needed one. No one understood that even though she couldn't see or hear, she was still a person. I should have known they would drag her into the chaos...the girls had been sending me messages about what was coming for days. There were messages and rumors and other omens...I can't believe I was so stupid not to think anything of them..."

She was choking on her emotions. Soon, another round of tears would be flowing down her face.

"Anyways...when the fight was over, they put a knife up to her neck so that I'd be forced to keep going. I refused, and instead they showed me mercy in the form of trapping me underneath the floorboards for the night. And then when the teachers finally found me in the morning, I was called straight to the headmistress's office. They'd spared my life, but they hadn't spared Carlie's...She had been stabbed multiple times in the chest. In the middle of the night, the girl who fought me had told her mother that I had senselessly murdered Carlie in the dungeons, and then right before I was about to go on a rampage, they had found a way to trap me underneath the floorboards...so that I wouldn't be a threat...so that I wouldn't harm any more people..."

She got up onto her two feet, slowly approaching Stephen's bed. With mirth and dread, she angrily snickered.

"Well of course the headmistress believed that bullshit story...it was made up by her precious daughter. The ministry, however, did not. I went to trial and they found me innocent of all of charges. Still, the headmistress decided to banish me from the grounds even though I had done nothing wrong. I didn't mind being expelled. That was the part I didn't mind...the part I did mind was the part where I had not forseen any of the gruesome events coming, and had been so stupid as to take rapid, unplanned actions...all leading up to Carlie's death..."

Emotionlessly, she sat down next to Stephen. "That's why I chose to be sorted into Vulpes instead of Ferres when I came here...I wanted to be smarter...make better, more intelligent choices...It's something I regret and don't regret at the same time..."

Her hands tightened together to form one big fist that she steadily placed on her knees. Uncomfortably, her fingers twisted and turned. "So when I met Rose and saw the things that she was going through, I knew I had to protect her. I knew I had to make things right for her, because if I didn't, the possibility of something terrible would undoubtedly fall upon her..."

She produced a small sniffle. "And then I left her alone on the boat in order to go save you, and now here we are. My decision, ultimately, has cost me her life. Turns out no matter what I try do to prevent it, my stupidity will always get the best of me..."

Again, she could feel hot tears form beneath the backs of her eyes. She was deadly silent for a few moments, staring at the ground, trying to find the right words in the cold depths of her broken brain to utter next. And she knew what she wanted to say. And she hated what she wanted to say. But she thought that since she had already gone this far, she might as well say it already.

"And you know what's the worst, most terrible, most vile thing about all of it?" she said. Natasha inhaled a shaky, unstable breath. "Despite how much I love Rose and despite how much I wish I could wind back the clock and save her life...I don't completely regret the choice that I made on the ship."

It was in that moment she stared at Stephen with blue eyes that told him everything. Her eyes told him how she looked upon him as though he were a perfect pane of glass, shimmering in the light despite the fact that he appeared fragile. Silently, salty droplets began to pour down her cheeks again. The way her face shined from all the tears, it was though she had been misted by the heavy raindrops that heavily fell outside.

And it was in that moment, while she was at her lowest point, that Natasha rested her head upon Stephen's shoulder. Her eyelids were gently closed in defeat. If not for the dwindling tears, anyone would have thought she was sleeping. She did not know Stephen Schwarz well enough to call him a good friend. He probably did not know her well enough, either. But the fact of the matter remained that she just needed a shoulder to cry on. Because right now, she doubted she could ever lift her heavy head back up again.