(1937-12-20) Personal Demons
Details for Personal Demons
Summary: When Bannon and Camilla come to collect Josie and Lucian for Christmas break, all four face the threat of the men's demons, both within and without.
Date: December 20, 1937
Location: Hogwart's Gates

Such a joyous occasion at Hogwarts School is rarely ever seen twice a year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as the students are being let out for their Holiday vacations. A gathering of students has congregated at the front gate of Hogwarts, mostly those who have parents who pick them up personally or who live in Hogsmeade. Above the congregation, Hogwarts' resident troublemaker-in-chief (not Jackson Potter) is circling overhead, dropping old and discarded schoolbooks on top of kids and cackling as he sings:

"Terror has waited for all that I've crossed,
Good Christmas to you, now you lot get lost!"

The front door of the school opens, and Apollyon Pringle, caretaker of the Hogwarts school proceeds towards the gathering with a grumbling nature. His imminent arrival is proceeded by his shouted "PEEEEVES!" The caretaker arrives at the gate, unlocking it and opening it, "Do as he says, you wee mongrels."

The gates open, allowing the gathering to proceed off school grounds with last minute goodbyes to everyone.

Amongst the gathering of parents, Bannon Benjamin Bryson Bates stands alongside a few others as he is waiting to collect his charge from the hallowed halls of Hogwarts. He is dressed in a plain suit, with his red-banded bowler hat atop his head. His walking stick is clutched in his right hand. Further, he is smiling expectantly.

Josie is there with the other students, ducking and dodging the books Peeves throws but grinning all the same. Even Peeves, and then Pringle as he appears, can't ruin this day for her! As soon as the gate opens, she's running through, quickly looking around for her guardians. Seeing one in the crowd at least, she manages to smile even wider and starts to run over closer.

Camilla is a little ways away from the group as she has a proud and much healthier looking Hippogriff on a lead some weasels strung to her belt. "<He Moves.>" She squawks at Dragon before giving him another ferret to help keep him content so close to the crowd. When Josie comes out she points Dragon towards the girl, "<My Baby.>" She then waves to Josie but lets Bannon and Jo have first hugs and greetings.

Lucian trudges down the path, distracted eyes cast downward. So he doesn't have a hope of noticing the descending textbook before his strikes him square on the shoulder. He gives a roar of pain and aggravation, looking around, then finally up to see Peeves cackling above. He grumbles, knowing full well there's no use threatening the poltergeist. It would only encourage the chaotic little spirit. Lucian hurries along to get out of the range of the rain of literature. When his eyes find Camilla, a bit of cheer reaches his face. But it's when they settle on Dragon that he beams with a childlike smile almost never seen at Hogwarts. "Dragon!" he cries out excitedly, striding forward. He pauses to bow before the mighty hippogriff, waiting for him to bow back, then moves in to wrap his arms affectionately around the beast's neck. "Dragon, I can't believe it!" He looks up just long enough to give Camilla a look of pure gratitude, his voice barely a whisper, "Thank you."

Bannon takes a knee when Josie approaches, setting down his walking stick and reaching out with his arms to pull her into a big hug. After a few moments, he leans back to look her in the face with a considering expression, "Hello, Miss Davies. You haven't transfigured anyone into something undesirable, have you? Doing well in your schoolwork?" He stands to hear her response to his question, retrieving his walking stick as he does so. He mentions after her response, "Camilla brought a hippogriff. Do you know how to properly greet one?" He offers her his free hand, turning towards the others.

Josie hugs Bannon, waving to Camilla over his shoulder but holding on a moment. When Bannon leans back she grins and shakes her head quickly to his first question, then nodding to the next. "No people-transfigurations, promise. But yep, been doing good. Well, except in History of Magic. *So* much reading." She takes the offered hand and follows towards Camilla, Lucian, and the hippogriff. "Um… bowing?" Whether she knew that or just witnessed Lucian do it isn't clear, but she bows to the hippogriff as well.

Camilla reaches out to ruffle Lucian's hair and then give his shoulder a soothing rub where he was struck by the book. But then she's very distracted when she takes several steps away from Dragon to scoop Josie up give her a bear hug and swing her about so her legs looks like a pendulum on a clock. "Oh I missed you!" The Ranger then gives Bannon's stomach a little poke. "Course she knows how to greet a Hippogriff!" She's got that proud motherly 'she's my girl!' tone to her voice. "Josie, this is Dragon. He, his herd and Lucian will be staying with us through the Holiday."

Lucian is lost in the euphoria of seeing Dragon here and healthy, so it takes a few moments for him to even register that Josie and Bannon are here. When the little Gryffindor mentions bowing, he gives her an approving nod and smile. "Well done, Davies. You really are a fast learner." His eyes flicker up to Bannon, then he double-takes at the man, his smile suddenly fading. "What is he doing here?"

Bannon makes his own bow to the Hippogriff as well, having only just met. He glances towards Camilla, tilting his head and raising an eyebrow, "Is he?" He smiles to Lucian, a chuckle rising from him at the reaction. He gamely extends his hand to Lucian none-the-less, "Happy to be spending the holiday with you, Mr. Proudmore."

Josie grins and glances up to Lucian as Camilla mentions he's staying, "Brilliant." Whatever else she was going to say, and her smile, fade at Lucian's reaction to Bannon. She blinks in confusion, and answers, "He's my other guardian."

Camilla gives Lucian a bit of a shocked look. "Lucian, what's gotten into you? Bannon's apart of our family as much as you are now. Let's start the holiday off on a good foot, right?" She looks to Bannon looking very puzzled then back to Lucian looking rather pleading.

Lucian looks down at Bannon's hand, then back up to his face. His eyes are hard as stone. "This man is no family of mine." He looks away, focusing on Dragon, running his hand down the beast's feathered neck. The hippogriff nuzzles against Lucian's cheek, sensing his friend's distress.

Bannon lowers his hand, glancing towards Camilla and giving her a slight shrug, "Mr. Proudmore and I clashed on philosophical grounds during the tournament I hosted at Hogwarts. I am happy to see him, none-the-less, and I'm sure he shall be welcome company during the holidays." He looks around with a broad smile, "Well? Shall we get going then? I haven't walked to the farm from Hogwarts, but I hear its a good clip."

Josie looks between Bannon and Lucian in confusion, until Bannon explains, then she says, "Ohhh." Seeming satisfied she understands, she doesn't question more about it, nodding quickly to Bannon with a smile as she takes the lead, running ahead a little and obviously enjoying her new freedom from the castle.

Camilla nods and leans forward to kiss the top of Josie's head and then kiss Bannon with polite for public and present company chasteness. "You two go on ahead a bit." She's got a rather 'I need to chat with Lucian' tone between the lines.

Lucian doesn't wait for the polite distance to form before firing back with a sneer. "We 'clashed' because I took a concern to him, and he spit on my honour. Called it 'sanctimonious.' Oh yes, then he threatened to drag me down the hall when I was leaving. Top notch sort of family you've got there, Camilla." He gives Dragon a familiar pat on the haunch, and the hippogriff lowers himself to let Lucian climb into his back.

Bannon cringes at the very last insult slung towards him by way of Camilla. He glances down towards Josie, "Well, lets walk a bit faster, Miss Davies. Perhaps then we'll be able to outrun the explosion. Offering his hand to her again, Bannon's stride lengthens so as to begin to outdistance Camilla and Lucian, "So are you enjoying your time in school? My first year was a bit rough…"

Josie smiles at the kiss to her head, but then moves ahead again with Bannon and nods quickly, taking his hand and just glancing back. Then though she focuses full attention on Bannon once again and she says, "It's fun, but the rules were hard. I could see home out the window but couldn't visit. And not being allowed to go out at night is stupid in an empty castle. In London it'd make sense, but not here."

Camilla's eyes flare wide when Lucian insults her family. "Well flaws and all I love my family. You included Lucian. I know you don't have any clue on how a real family works. But that's how it works. He's got problems, just like you've got problems. But a family, they fight, and they ram heads, and lock horns but they are always there for each other in the end. I'll rip Bannon a new one later for treating anyone as badly as you say he has, but don't you dare belittle my family. The only way that he's going to learn how important what happened was to you is if you teach him, not attack him. You two… or so it seems, just you can be pissed. But don't you take it out on me, and don't you take it out on Josie. Alright? I'll see you back at the Farm." Her tone stays pretty even throughout. Her care for her apprentice is clear. He's considered family by Camilla, like it or not, that's the way it is. The lead is uncurled from his hand and tossed up around to Lucian on Dragon's back.

Lucian turns his glare on Camilla now, and scoffs. "Typical. I get treated like crap, but the moment that's inconvenient for someone, I'm supposed to just let it go." He takes up the lead, petting Dragon to reassure him, as the beast picks up on his agitation, warbling nervously. "To Hades with that. I thought you were different. But you're just like everyone else." He guides Dragon to turn away. The hippogriff gives Camilla one final look of confusion, but he follows the lead of the boy he has learned to trust his whole life. With a few trots forward, the great beast spreads his wings, and the two of them launch into the air, drawing gasps of astonishment from many of the nearby students.

Bannon returns the smile, nodding his head, "I can only imagine… Most children go to school and don't see their parents until holidays. You are so lucky! Camilla is a professor at Hogwarts, and I was there for the tournament." He adds emphatically, "So you did well!" He peers towards her, then sighs, "Yes, well. In London, I'm sure things made a lot of sense. In Hogwarts, you're not allowed out at night for two reasons. The main reason is you must be well rested to perform well in school, but an only slightly less important reason is the castle will try to kill you. Consider the moving staircases, and the trick stairs. One misstep could render you horribly lost, or hurt badly in a fall."

The group turns down a quaintly forested path. The temperature in the air changes noticeably, as a roiling, billowing noise begins to fill the air, coming from behind the group just as the hippogriff. Recognizing it instantly, Bannon releases Josie's hand and draws his wand from the top of the walking stick, "Wands out!"

Roiling out from from the ether in the intervening space between, a fiery serpent uncoils itself, forming a full body and large fangs. Features made completely of fire, it comes into existence facing Bannon, but then turns with a snap towards the Sixth Year on the hippogriff. The snake lunges forward, its jaws ready to close on them.

With a pop, Bannon ceases to exist next to Josie, appearing in the intervening space between the snake and Camilla. With a violent upward slash of his wand, the snake's head reals backwards from the offensive spell shot by Bannon. The Auror looks towards Camilla and yells, "Get Lucian back down here!" He then calls out, "Josie! Stay where you are!"

Several voices shout out from the edges of the forest, "Stupefy," spells being shot into the group in what is perhaps a well-rehearsed ambush attempt.

Josie blinks as Bannon suddenly lets go of her hand, and quickly pulls her wand at the command, looking back with eyes wide. Those eyes widen even more at the huge fiery snake that comes in and bites at Lucian and the hippogriff. She's obviously scared, but she doesn't freeze or scream. Instead, as a spell races towards her she reacts fast with a parrying motion, "Protego!" The stunning spell bounces off her shield.

Camilla calls after Lucian, "You're listening to your demons Lucian. Not to what I said. We'll talk more when we get home." But then there's roiling and temperature changes and she turns around and is faced with a snake of fire. "Och!" She ducks and calls or to human ears squawks, "Dragon! <Land. Forest! Protect Gold Boy!>" "Aqua Eructo!" It's the spell she uses to wash/hose down the larger creatures she works with and the firehose like spray is at first aimed at the Fire Snake but when she spots a spell coming her way she lowers her wand to drench the caster and knock whomever it was back - deeper into the forest. A Sonorus charm is quickly done. "Forest Clan! Intruders in your wood!" She warns the closest Centaur clan not to mention anyone else within hearing distance. As she calls she is ducking and dodging and hurrying to Josie.

With the appearance of the flaming snake, Lucian is in a sudden panic, and clings desperately to Dragon's back, unable to much more than hold on and try to breathe. Dragon doesn't need any coaxing to get away from the incendiary serpent, and veers sharply away with a hard flap of his wings. Gritting his teeth to overcoming the primal terror gripping him, Lucian casts his eyes about frantically, taking stock of the situation. Fire snake…men coming out of the forest…they're attacking Josie! That is enough to override his fear, so long as he can stay away from the flame. His lip curls into a snarl. He and Dragon will come down alright! These fools have drawn the ire of the self-proclaimed Black Knight of Slytherin, and it's time to show the world what that means. Dragon knows that the Gold Boy and the Fox Woman are being threatened, and requires little guidance from Lucian to swoop toward the attacks in a dive. Drawing his wand, Lucian leans to the side, slashing parries in the air. "Protego! Protego!" he shouts, fending off the Stunning Spells coming their way, and deflecting some right back where they came from. His focus is on shielding himself and Dragon, just long enough to get the attackers within reach of the hippogriff's talons.

Bannon continues squaring off with the snake, muttering under his breath various incantations. As Camilla hits the fiery snake with the Aguamenti from hell, Bannon calls out, "No good! Fiendfyre!" He whips his wand again as the snake's tail slashes towards Camilla to prevent her from reaching Josie. She can no doubt feel the incinerating heat as it comes towards her and then whips away. Yet, the barrier still exists between them.

He goes back to muttering, cutting complicated lines in the air with his wand, even as stunning spells fly towards him. The stunning spells don't break his concentration, but he sends them away none-the-less. He finally points his wand it a jutting fashion towards the snake, calling out, "Evanescro Defyremon!" As the complicated spell goes into effect, the snake begins disappearing back into the ether, in the exact reverse fashion it came into existence.

The snake is disappearing noisily, emitting roiling and consuming sounds, but another apparates into the fray masked by the quickly disappearing fiendfyre. A tall man with choppy blond hair and icy blue eyes appears directly next to Josie. Carrying a staff equal to his height, the man quietly places a hand on Josie's shoulder. With the appearance of turning sideways where they stand, both the blonde man and the small girl cease to exist in that one place.

Bannon catches sight of the blond man just as the fiendfyre ceases to be a barrier between them. He takes off at a run towards them, shouting above the roar, "Kriegsbruder!!" Too late, however. Stunning spells continue to rain down upon them, but Bannon entering the fray and the arrival arrows from centaurs begin to drive their attackers away. The Auror turns towards Camilla, a cold expression on his face as he walks towards her, "I've got to go to London. Go to the farm. Send an owl to the Ministry. It's Adelwald Kriegsbruder."

Watching the action, and how they're winning, makes Josie grin, even as she's cut off from 'rescue'. She still has her wand ready, but she doesn't think to attack as the man suddenly appears next to her. Unsure if he's good or bad, she just manages to look up at him before she's pulled away into nothingness.

Camilla didn't see what happened, all she knows is that suddenly there was the fire snake between her and her Josie and so she disappeared with a *crack* Re-appearing where the girl just was and her hand reaches out to take ahold of the girl and spread fingers only drag through air. Wide eyed and confused she looks around and her vision of Bannon becomes more and more blurry as the tears well up into her eyes. But she just sweeps the tears away and nods managing to keep her wits about her. She swallows and begins to frantically look around for Dragon and Lucian. A breath of relief when she spots them.

Lucian adds his own Stunning Spells to the mix as Dragon descends upon the attackers. Clearly, these men didn't count on an angry hippogriff to contend with. Talons rake, hooves kick, and a steely beak snaps and jabs. There is nothing pretty about the condition Dragon leaves the men in. The lucky ones are those that escaped to the forest (at least, until they run afoul of more centaurs), or fell to Lucian's hexes. There is a tense moment when a few centaurs appear, bows aimed Lucian's way. But a warning squawk from Dragon seems to make them think better, and Lucian guides the hippogriff away from the forest's edge. Galloping back toward Camilla and Bannon, covered in sprays of blood, Lucian's eyes suddenly widen in panic, his face paling. "Where's Josie?"

Bannon replies tersely to Lucian, "He took her." He places his wand in his pocket and takes Camilla gently by the shoulders. He tilts his upper-body down to look her directly in the eyes. "Listen," he hisses, "He won't hurt her. He's baiting me into a fight. I need to send a message to the Ministry and I know who he goes to to move items around Great Britain. We have a chance, a slim chance, to get her back on our terms, but no tears… Not yet." He turns towards Lucian, "Coming to London, Mr. Proudmore?"

Camilla nods her head again, "Go, get back to the Ministry, do what you have to do, Lucian and I will be fine. Have them keep eyes out for underage magic use. Our Josie's probably hexing the hell out of him. Or trying to right now. Just go. Go get her back and kill him once and for all Floo speak to me if you need me. Remember, you have things now you haven't in the past to use against him." Like her and Josie even. "That son of a bitch has a surprise coming to him if he thinks he took some bargaining chip." She pushes him with a more sure nod. "Get our daughter back." Her eyes go to Lucian and she swallows, "Let's go home, get washed up and strengthen the wards. I'm proud of you. Thank you for what you did." She bows to Dragon again in thanks to him but also for permission to co-mount with Lucian so they can get home that much faster.

Lucian shakes his head to Camilla, dismounting from Dragon and handing her the lead. "Dragon, look after her." The hippogriff barks in some kind of acknowledgement to Lucian. The young Slytherin steps up to Bannon, his eyes still hard and cold. "I'm coming. For Josie."

Bannon nods to Camilla, "I will." He turns, his eyes looking towards the sky in intense concentration. He retrieves his wand from his pocket and calls towards the sky, "Expecto patronum!" In a flash of silver, an english foxhound bursts from the tip of his wand, running a circle in the air and then stopping next Bannon. He looks down to the foxhound, "Take a message to Cooper. Tell her Adelwald Kriegsbruder is in London. Location forthcoming. Go!" The dog turns tail and begins to trot away, stopping only momentarily to lift a silver leg on a tree before jetting off. He flicks his wand, summoning his walking stick to his hand. He replaces the wand in his walking stick and holds his arm out to Lucian, "If you've never apparated before, be ready to vomit." In his last moments of existence in this place and time, his eyes are only for Camilla as he mouths either 'I Love You' or 'Vacuum' to her. It's not really specific…

Bannon nods to Camilla, "I will, but we have to hurry. That girl is a Bates to the bone, and she won't sit hostage for too long before she makes trouble. I can't guarantee what he'll do then." He turns, his eyes looking towards the sky in intense concentration. He retrieves his wand from his pocket and calls towards the sky, "Expecto patronum!" In a flash of silver, an English foxhound bursts from the tip of his wand, running a circle in the air and then stopping next Bannon. He looks down to the foxhound, "Take a message to Cooper. Tell her Adelwald Kriegsbruder is in London. Location forthcoming. Go!" The dog turns tail and begins to trot away, stopping only momentarily to lift a silver leg on a tree before jetting off. He flicks his wand, summoning his walking stick to his hand. He replaces the wand in his walking stick and holds his arm out to Lucian, "If you've never apparated before, be ready to vomit." In his last moments of existence in this place and time, his eyes are only for Camilla as he mouths either 'I Love You' or 'Vacuum' to her. It's not really specific…

Bannon and Lucian apparate into London, visiting a small bar on the dodgy side of town. There they met Marv, a street-level magical goods hustler who has moved items in the past. It takes Bannon and Lucian about thirty seconds to stun his men, and a wand to the crotch and the threat of Reductor curses 'where they aren't supposed to go' quickly extracts information on the whereabouts of Adelwald Kriegsbruder.

Another apparition away, Bannon and Lucian arrive just on the outside of a warehouse that remains hidden to muggle eyes. Bannon looks towards Lucian, "Mr. Proudmore, this isn't the bar, with low-level street crime being the bread and butter. This is Adelwald Kriegsbruder and his people. When we go in there, and someone duels you, destroy them." He adds after a moment, "Figuratively of course. Keep your head low. These are dark wizards and they will kill you given the chance. Understand?"

"It isn't over until they can't fight back," Lucian says grimly. "I've been preparing for this a long time. I know it isn't the dueling stage. Let's just get her back." He directs his wand toward himself, incanting, "Impervius." There is one thing he knows will be his undoing: Fire. That, at least, he can give himself some measure of protection from.

Bannon nods his head, "Good. We'll need every last advantage we can get." He reaches out, tapping Lucian on the head with his wand. Every part of him, from his skin to his clothing, begins to shimmer and fade as he comes under the protection of a disillusionment charm. Bannon gives final instructions, "When we go in, get to work but attempt to be discrete. I'm trusting you with Josie. I'll get Kriegsbruder away from Josie, you get her out safely. Ministry officials will be descending upon this place in droves. They'll take you back to Camilla if I'm dead." He then adds, "Lets go." He begins walking towards the door in broad daylight, his eyes watching the roofs for telltale signs of people who are about to attack. Oddly enough, there are none. He opens the door, leaving it open behind him for the all but invisible Lucian to enter behind him.

The warehouse is spacious, with crates stacks two and three times high in large groups, creating a maze-like pattern weaving through the warehouse. He takes a quick look at their options, left and right. He takes a quick right hand turn, beginning to move down that path.

Lucian stays close to Bannon, even making the effort to keep his footsteps in time with the Auror's to further mask his presence. He's nervous, but he keeps his thoughts focused on one thing: Protect Josie and get her out at all costs. He frequently looks over his shoulder, wary of being approached from behind.

From the area in front of him, a man jumps out and points his wand towards Bannon. While the attack is still attempting to speak the spell, his wand flies out of his hand and clatters to the floor. A moment later, the man goes flying backwards into a crate as Bannon steps forward and waves his wand with a grunt. That seems to be the breaking point, and people begin to come out of the woodwork. Down the paths, across the catwalks above. Bannon begins slinging spells like a madman, his hand becoming a blur as he begins sending them left, right and forward. He seems to be allowing Lucian to watch his back, as all his concentration is placed in moving them forward. It is clear that the auror has earned his reputation as being one of the best in his business, and he follows his own advice: When he duels someone, he destroys them. If not physically, than egotistically.

There are too many to leave the fighting to Bannon alone. Though it might reveal his presence, Lucian does what he does best, going on the defensive with skillful Shield Charms, reflecting many spells back toward their casters, and when he sees an opening, he unleashes a devastating offense. At first, it is powerful Stunning Spells. One man is Transfigured into a toad. But one among the attackers is a skilled duelist in his own right, and unleashes a barrage of potentially deadly curses upon the boy. Lucian's defense is strong, but this is the first life and death situation he has faced, and his resolve is being battered to its limit. The assailant sees the fear in the lad's eyes, and winds up for a powerful curse that Lucian knows all too well: The Blasting Curse, which he so recently faced on the dueling stage. Luc's eyes go wide…and he sees his opening — that split-second that will mean the difference between his victory and his death. He slashes with his wand, crying out, "DIFFINDO!"

Lucian stares fearfully, still as a statue, as his attacker's head slips free of his neck and falls to the floor, soon followed by his body.

Bannon glances over his shoulder for a moment, his eyes widening before he reaches out and pokes Lucian, "Keep moving!" He faces forward and gets back to work. Like a hot knife through butter, the two skilled duelists battle their way to the break in the crates, where Josie is being held by Kriegsbruder. Upon Bannon's approach, the bonds holding Josie are severed and Kriegsbruder holds a wand to her throat. As he speaks, his voice is slightly higher than one would imagine, but not rediculously so. His blue eyes are intent and hateful as they glare towards Bannon, "Vell, I see my men vere no match. Zis is not a surprise. You and I, vee have done zis too many times for zis to be a surprise."

Bannon continues forward, his hand coming up to tip his hat to the man, "Adelwald, so good to see you again. I'm going to kill you, you know." This draws a laugh from the German, "Vee shall see about zis, yes? But you vill not come any closer, yes? Or she vill die." He tilts his head towards where Lucian is, or should be, and then asks, "Josie, are you alright? Stay very still." He then looks towards Kriegsbruder, "I caught you by surprise. I can tell. You haven't had time to prepare your usual defenses. So, my old enemy… Shall we?" Bannon raises his wand, seeming to startle Kriegsbruder for a moment. When Kriegsbruder raises his wand to counter-spell Bannon, the Auror is already gone, blinking out of existance with a pop. Several loud pops tear through the warehouse as Bannon apparates in rapid succession, almost seeming as if he is in two places at one. His final apparition lands him directly to the left of Kriegsbruder. When the German swings to place the wand back to Josie's throat, Bannon parries the wand with his own as if they were swords. Sparks fly from the tips at their contact.

Looking the German dead in the eye, Bannon balls us his left hand and growls, "Keep your hands off my daughter." Pulling back, Bannon lands a left hook square on the jaw of the German, and then they are off, throwing spells at each other like lightning.

While there is fear in Josie's eyes, it's not crippling. She's far too brave for her own good, really. Instead, she looks relieved on seeing Bannon and his hard-to-see partner arrive. As she's pulled from her bonds with the wand to her throat, she says, sounding totally confident, "Now he's gonna kick your ass so hard you'll land in America." She holds still as Bannon instructed, though, until his words. She just stares a moment, even as the battle starts up again.

The contact from Bannon startles Lucian into a defensive stance, but it snaps him out of his stupor. "I just killed a man," he murmurs, barely audible. He takes a deep breath. Focus, Lucian. Focus. You have a goal. You have to succeed at all costs. He takes off after Bannon, softening his steps, slowing when Kriegsbruder and Josie come into view, letting the camouflage spell do its work to blend him into the background. Then…Merlin's beard, Bannon is a terror in battle. But it's distraction enough. Lucian darts forward, making his way toward Josie, side-stepping a stray curse flying from Adelwald's wand. He is like a wraith stepping out of the shadows when he is upon the young Gryffindor. "Josie, it's Lucian. hold onto me," he orders. He wraps his arms around the girl, then shuts his eyes, focusing on the safest place he can think of. The girl and the barely-there visage of Lucian seem to turn on the spot, and with a *CRACK*, they are gone.

As the crack sounds, Bannon unleashes an almighty fury upon the German, turning the tables of the battle being waged in the catwalks above. With the stakes that were on the table until the timely apparition of Lucian and Josie, Bannon is holding nothing back. Thunder, lightning, fire, there is no element barred as the two duel in a blur of wands.

In a momentary lull in the battle, where each has proven equal to the other, Adelwald Kriegsbruder pauses to sneer towards the Auror, "You can't beat me, Bates! Ven vill you learn, you vill alvays be one step behind me!" He then seems to turn side ways for just a moment…

The 'me!' is the moment Bannon had been waiting for. When the German says the word, Bannon waves his wand and mutters an exceedingly fast incantation.

…Adelwald Kriegsbruder is still here. Much to the shock and dismay of the German. To his continuing shock, Bannon gives his wand one last wave, propelling the German in an upward fashion to impact headfirst into the cieling with a sickening crunch. As the German hits the ground, Bannon speaks once again, "Expelliarmus!" The German wizards staff flies out of his hand, and into the hand of Bannon.

Just then, cracks can be heard all over as Ministry officials begin apparating directly into the warehouse. All along the catwalks, Aurors appear with wands raised. First, pointing towards Bannon, then Kriegsbruder. Bannon tosses the claimed staff to the nearest Auror he sees, then turns towards the door. With another wave of his wand, he summons his walking stick to his hand and replaces his wand in the tip. He clears his throat and announces, "One more for Azkaban." The final arrangements are made for Bannon to turn in his paperwork on the matter the next day, so he may go home to see his family. With a pop, he apparates directly on the edge of the Fawley Farm house, walking towards it with a swift step, "Camilla!" He looks around quickly, though he knows she may be out tending the animals somewhere. He then calls out next, "Josie?! Lucian?!"

Lucian leads Josie out of the barn, having climbed down from the loft where they Apparated. "Go," he says to her, "Go be with him." Already, his voice is trembling, but he's doing his best to hold it together.

Josie has been chattering Lucian's ear off in the barn with questions and worry about Bannon. So, when Bannon calls out, she follows him out and then runs ahead, running right over to hug Bannon.

Bannon drops to a knee to hug Josie, leaning back almost immediately to look her over, "Did he hurt you? Are you alright?" He pulls her back towards him without waiting for the answer. He had not shown anything less than absolute certainty at her recovery, but now there is relief. Intense relief. He looks up towards Lucian, watching him for a moment and adding, "Josie, go inside. We have so much to talk about… So much I need to say… but I owe someone something first." He lets go of her, standing up and turning towards Lucian, "Come with me, son. We should talk."

Camilla was talking to an Auror dispatcher that was informing her that things are resolved. Then hearing the animals start to get riled up hearing Lucian and Josie above them she comes dashing out of the house and clings to the post on the porch. She's gasping for breath like the ten feet she ran was in miles and trying not to sob she opens her arms out and waits for Josie.

With each step he takes, Lucian moves deeper into a daze, the events of the warehouse replaying in his mind. His head came off…I killed him. He is still clutching his wand like a security blanket, but he hardly seems to be in a position to use it. When Bannon summons him, he follows as obediently as if he were under an Imperius Curse.

Josie hugs tight to Bannon a few moments, "Knew you'd come for me." She shakes her head, "Just tied me up. And only that after I kicked him when he took my wand." She starts to open her mouth to ask something else, but she nods a little bit, looking between Bannon and Lucian. She turns to head towards the house. When she spots Camilla, the walk turns into a run and she practically pounces the woman with a hug.

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