Alexis opened her eyes to a dimly lit room. She was sitting in a high back, old fashion chair feeling rather groggy and nauseous. Where was she? How long was she unconscious? Questions filled her mind as her eyes scanned her surroundings. It was dark and damp, she could just make out the stone walls through the single ray of light that shined down around her. But where was the door? Behind her? Alexis hoped so, it terrified her to think she was alone in a room with no way out. The teenager attempted to move her hands, but corse rope bit at her wrists. She felt the same restriction against her legs, chest and neck.
Panic and fear rose within Alexis as she struggled against the ropes, trying to wiggle her way to freedom. The ropes didn’t budge – instead Alexis felt them grow tighter, cutting further into her skin. A cry came to her lips as the teenager fought back tears. Memories rushed back to Alexis’s mind. She remembered King’s Cross station and the man who kidnapped her. The two had apparated – but she couldn’t remember what happened after.
Oh, I could be anywhere! Alexis thought to herself. Would anybody notice her missing on the train? Zack would – she had promised to sit with him. There was Lilly, would she look for her? Maybe not after her quick departure Christmas day. Stay calm… don’t panic. Alexis tried to calm her frantic mind. She had to think of a way to get out of these ropes. She had no wand or weapon within reach. Alexis had to hold on to the hope that someone would find her. Crow would figure things out, he’d been keeping a good eye on her this past week. Then again – she had disobeyed him and Minky and left on her own.
Stupid me! Alexis thought with bitterness.
“Careful. You don’t want to keep squirming around like that.” A voice echoed behind Alexis. She froze, feeling a wave of dread wash over her. The voice triggered a memory, more like a dream. The man without a face, the man who killed the old man in her dreams, who had talked about killing her. Alexis didn’t know why but her gut told her this was the man. Her dreams had become reality yet again. But the voice – it was more familiar than just a dream voice.
“Those ropes have a special spell on them. They tighten the more you move. Therefore, if you wish to keep her limbs in tack, I suggest you stop moving so much.” The voice continued. There was an arrogance and confidence in his tone that gnawed at Alexis’ memories. Where did she hear that voice before?
“Show yourself!” Alexis called out. There was a movement, and to her right she saw the owner of the voice move into her line of vision. “Professor Draper?” Alexis gasped with surprise. Across from her in the small stone cell was her Charms Teacher. “I… I don’t understand. What’s going on here?”
“Surprised?” Leon Draper asked. “It was quite an act I put on at Hogwarts. I have a gift of dramatics, a silver tongue and natural charm. When used together – all those gifts can get one far in life.” He let out a sigh and leaned against the wall, a look of satisfaction on his face.
“They’ll know I’m missing!” Alexis said, forcing herself to sound just as confident as him. “They’ll track me down an-“
“And what? Save you? My dear cousin. Do you know how long you’ve been down here?”
Cousin? Could Leon be mad? Alexis had no idea whom she was dealing with, could this be the same charming teacher? “How long?”
“Impossible!” Alexis shouted, it couldn’t be true.
“It is. I’ve planned it out well given the time limits.” Leon said in a matter-of-fact tone. It was as if he was waiting for Alexis to congratulate him on his intelligent plan. “The headmaster believes you have returned to Kyoto. A family emergency came up over the holidays. Nobody questioned it.”
“What about Crow? He-“
“He thinks you’re safe and sound at Hogwarts. You, my girl did that part all on your own.”
Alexis’ face grew white, Leon was right. She ran to the train station on her own, he would think she would have made it safe and sound.
“What do you want from me?” Alexis asked, a depressed look crossed her face. Nobody would look for her now, nobody eve knew she was missing yet. Draper was going to kill her! The thought crossed Alexis’ mind like a bolt of lightning. She would be lost, forgotten. What was worse Leon Draper would get away with it! She blinked her eyes to keep the tears at bay.
“You’re a remarkable girl, do you know that Alexis Rune?” Leon asked, moving towards her his head bent down to star into her silver grey eyes. His glasses reflected the orb of light above her head, and something more.
Don’t give up hope yet! “No.” She answered.
“You simply won’t die.” He removed his glasses and cleaned them with a small handkerchief. Alexis eyes never left Draper’s face. He was looking more like a crazed lunatic with ever sentence he spoke. Was the professor at school just an act? A means to some end, her end? The amicable charm he used on his students had lifted, she now saw his true self. A twisted, hateful creature of darkness.
“Why?” Alexis asked. “Why do you want me dead?”
“Still not getting it?” A grin appeared on his face. “I will admit, you have proven a worthy foe for the past six months. It seems a small shame it is now coming to an end, but the others are getting rather antsy. There is no other way around the Will, the Rune Legacy is yours until you die.”
“The Rune Legacy? You’re after my grandfather’s inheritance?” Alexis asked, still puzzled and growing more fearful and annoyed the longer Draper talked.
“My dear girl, there is more to the Rune Legacy then just a simple inheritance. Yet that gold has helped in my decision making as of late.” Draper said. “But most importantly the manor where we are now.” He smiled at her and waved his hand around the cell. “I need it.”
Alexis couldn’t move much but there wasn’t much to look at. Could she really be back in that dusty old mansion? She should have paid more attention to Zack’s stories about the underground dungeons of the place.
“I thought only a Rune can inherit the legacy?” Alexis asked, her voice cracking. She had to keep him talking, to put off the inevitable and give her time to think of a way out.
“But, dear cousin we are related.” Leon said. “Didn’t Avery tell you anything about me after I left that day? I would think he’d be all over you elaborating on the childhood pranks we – or I – pulled both at Hogwarts and the muggle towns nearby. But Avery has always been off… his brother was even worse. A squib, worthless.”
“My father was not worthless.” Alexis said, keeping the spark alive inside of her.
“Your father and uncle sure did their best to protect you didn’t they?” Draper asked, another smile on his face. “I’ll give your squib of a father that much. The Rune name itself my die off with you, but there are others, the bloodline has continued on in other great names. I may not have the Rune last name, but my mother did. She served her name well with the Dark Lord during his reign. Now it’s my turn to take up the torch.”
“What do you mean?” Alexis asked, pushing herself back, away from the professor as he spat his distaste for her father at her. “How did someone like you even get into Hogwarts?”
“Like I said before, charm and dramatics can get you anywhere these days. It helps when your uncle is a well liked Healer at St. Mungos. He pulled a few strings, I acted like the respectful man I should be, it was rather simple, and rewarding. Hogwarts proved to be a useful place to find new members of the Liberators.”
“The Liberators – that fanatical group that bombed the Dragon’s Scroll and Diagon Alley?” Alexis asked in a surprised tone. “You recruited them from Hogwarts?”
“Not all, but a few who can understand our motives.” Leon said. “They only attacked those places because I told them to. You needed to die before I could get possession of the Manor and vault.”
“It was all because of me?” Alexis asked. He heart beat wildly within her chest. All those hurt and killed – it was because he was after her. “My parents?”
“All part of my plan.” Leon said a grotesque smile spreading across his face. “Everything would have gone smoother had you died with your parents that night. What a surprise I got when the Headmaster asked me to visit you here in England. A new transfer student – none other than the girl I had ordered to be killed. I had to punish those who couldn’t do their jobs right. My job got harder once you stepped inside Hogwarts. All those protection spells around the place, it was like walking on eggshells!”
“The snake?” Alexis asked.
“Snake summons have never been my specialty. I’m surprised it even found the right bed.”
“And the Kurai seishen?”
“Ah, I can’t take credit for that. Axel, the one who fetched you for me summoned that beast. And yet – you destroyed it.” Leon’s high attitude and self-gratification of his accomplishments vanished when Alexis brought up the dark spirit. His fact twisted into a dark anger and his eyes sent waves of hatred towards the teenager. “How could a daughter of a squib be so powerful?”
“Perhaps you underestimated eastern magic.”
“Perhaps I’ve underestimated my uncle’s plots.” Leon flung back. “Your father was a squib, and should have been disinherited just like Avery. Why didn’t old Baldric Rune do that? He knew something that I didn’t, he must have known about you all along! He led me on to believe that I was to take over the place after his passing. Had I known the Will would change to your name – I would have kept him around.”
“You poisoned him. He was holding you back, you needed him out of the way. This Liberator group – he wasn’t for it, was he?” Alexis asked. Her dreams now made more sense as the pieces fell into place.
“How – how did you know?” A look of panic crossed Leon’s face. He drew himself up close to Alexi’s face. “You took Divination at Hogwarts – are you a seer as well as a thorn in my side?”
“Maybe you should have done your homework. I’m the daughter of a Shinto Priestess. Visions and seeing the future are our specialties.” Alexis spoke back, full of fire and spirit.
“Another reason to kill you once and for all. Priestess – seer – divination – how could you have more power than ME!” Leon said, laughing and pushing himself aside. He pulled out his wand and glared back at Alexis. She shrunk back in the chair, perhaps poking the psychopath wasn’t the best choice. If she was going to escape – now would be a good time. She squirmed again against the ropes, they dug deeper against her skin. Alexis could feel the blood spilling out of her wrists and across her neck.
“Disgraceful!” Leon shouted, raising his hand. “Crucio!” The torture curse hit Alexis square in the chest. She yelled in agonizing pain as her body twisted and bent in all the wrong directions. The ropes dug at her and she felt like her hands and feet, even her head would be cut off.
“I am not going to be made a fool any longer! Once you’re dead, I can finally be accepted into the inner circle of the Liberators. Give them a Headquarters and funding. They will finally see my power and influence as it should be. Crucio!”
Scream after scream escaped Alexis’ mouth as the torturing curse hit her body. Her mind was so full of pain she could barely think straight. This wouldn’t end, Alexis thought, seeing the satisfaction on Leon’s face. He took pleasure in all of this, she could see it in his eyes between ever shout. He was getting off on it, enjoying it with a grim satisfaction that he would be powerful enough to inherit the Rune Legacy.
Focus – Alexis thought hard between the blinding pain. Wands and talismans were just instruments for magic. Her mother always said real magic, pure magic came from within. Witches and Wizards had used magic before they invented wands. Words were power. Thoughts were power. Alexis didn’t need a wand to cast a spell. She needed to summon her own magic from within.
There was a break in the cursing, Leon seemed out of breath. Now was the time to act! Alexis put all of her concentration on one word, on one spell. With a yell, bright blue magic arrows formed around her body shooting out in all direction. Several connected with Leon’s body, a shock and surprise look passed across face as he fell to the floor with a loud thud. Alexis turned her attention the ropes.
“Inflamari!” Alexis shouted, sending the fire spell out from her body. The ropes that bound her burst into flames along with clothing and skin. She yelled out in pain, but was free from the chair. Alexis may have found an inner power, but it was completely uncontrollable. Extinguishing the flames from her body, Alexis looked for an exit.
“Kill her!” Leon shouted, still on the floor and dazed from a concussion.
Alexis swung her head around when a door behind her opened. The Asian man – Axel appeared wand in hand. He lifted it up towards her. Alexis ducked behind the chair as a killing curse flew past her head. She pushed the chair towards the opening. It explode with another spell as wooden shards flew everywhere creating the perfect cover as Alexis ran for the opening.
Leon back on his feet fired more green sparks of the killing curse at her. Full of adrenaline, Alexis ran down the dark stone hallway.