(1939-01-29) Forced Out of Retirement
Details for Forced Out of Retirement
Summary: In the two days since the death of Abram Willis, those who sought his secrets have found him home. The only Auror to respond is in the area by accident, and arrives just in time to bear witness to the desecration of the Willis Manor - Driving her out of retirement and back into the field long before she's read.
Date: 1939-01-29
Location: Willis Manor, Cheshire, England
Related: No Place Is Sacred; Abram Willis' death begins in the What Men Kill For Plot.

It's late in the evening. The perfect weather for some delicate broomwork through the trees around the wilds of England. Perhaps a little close to the nearby village of Cheddar, but late enough that any witch sliding through their forests would be gone in the blink of an eye. The woods suddenly turn into a vast clearing, a low stone wall surrounding a stately home that has seen better days - The grotesques and gargoyles on the roof are falling, leaning, and in disrepair. Windows are smokey, dirty. The grass around the place has well overgrown, three or four feet in some places, as nature has begun to reclaim the brickwork of Willis Manor. It might have disappeared into the minds of anyone who saw it, were it not for the sudden flash of eerily green light from the third and highest story.
It's not an unfamiliar light to any Auror. The distinct, vivid green of a spell that's incantation wouldn't be loud enough to travel the distance. There's no further light, either, no noise from the dark mansion. Enough to rouse the darkest suspicions, without giving any proof to go on.

The flash of green brings Shelley up short and she pulls up, circling high over the ruined estate. Nothing in the Muggle world, that she was aware of, produced a light like that. There were some spells, of course - at least one of them extremely worrying.
She flies her broom with one hand now, the other on her wand, as she murmurs a quiet incantation. "Protego Horribilis." Staying above the eyesight of any windows, she brings herself lower, little by little, to try to gain a surreptitious glance. If it's an innocent mistake - well. She could always simply continue with her practice, no one the wiser and no harm done.

Drawing closer reveals one cause for worry. The manse is old, distressed, in poor repair… But only one thing is /broken/, and it's the front door. A cavity marks where it once was. There's a smear in it's place, although it's hard to make out from so far away. The other warning - What sounds like a brief cry of pain, although it's cut off halfway through.

Of course, the /smart/ thing to do would be to go to the auror's office. The /smart/ thing to do would be to alert someone to what was going on. But in the meantime - what harm could be done? Cautiously lowered to just one side of the window from which she had seen the flash, Shelley leans carefully, trying to catch just a glimpse inside, while her ears straighted for sounds of what was happening inside the building.

Why? When there's an imperative situation, right here? "Calm, girl." The voice is smooth, sweet, and rich with darkness. "Caaalm. She is only asleep. Your retainer will be fine, it is but a scratch. Now show me where your father kept his study, hmn? We're old friends, and Mr. Willis said he was keeping something very special for me." Nothing to cause aggression. A figure in heavy black robes, barely visible through the aged window, and a much more slight one in worn white robes. She gently retreats, and begins to walk away, leading the figure in black out of the room slowly.
The view from the window has several restrictions. One is how poorly it reveals who is inside. The second is how well the tortured body of Mrs. Willis is obscured beside her bed. 'Sleeping.' Forever.

Shelley considers her options briefly. The circumstances are suspicious - but not suspicious enough to warrent coming through a window by force. Then again - the front door was wide open. Trying to steer clear of any windows, she makes her way to the door, and creeps through, wand at the ready, ears and eyes open for any signs of trouble.
You boot an idle self.

The inside of the manse is as worn as the world outside, but far more recently disturbed. The front door has been torn of it's hinges, the doorframe torn with it, bricks scattered through the expansive entrance hall. The smear, thankfully, is just char from the spell used. Far more than the dusty chandelier, the spaces where expensive paintings once hung, long ago sold to feed the Willis Debt, one thing takes center stage. A soft chime greets the entry of an Auror, but it's unlikely to provide a suitable distraction from the body that lies, spread eagled upon the central stairwell, his chest cavity stowed in, bent into the stairway, bowed from the force of the spell that had flung him there. The corpse is covered in cuts and scrapes, and the cause might become apparent if one could tear there eyes to look around the unlit room - Blood, breakages, scraps of clothing from the ferocity with which the body was tossed to and fro, before the cannonball curse ended his suffering. A scratch, the witch had whispered to the white-clad girl. Hardly.
A few seconds later, the white clad girl appears from the second floor landing. Looking nervous. Frightened, obviously, clutching her wand in both hands. Eighteen at oldest, wearing a worn white nightie, "Pl… Please… Don't." She whispers, almost to herself. Her steps are silent, and her wand is slowly raised to the chandelier - Hanging above the base of the stairs. "… Don't…"

Yes, it's hard to miss the corpse and the way that its chest is caved in. For a moment, it's not a dead man in Shelley's mind - but a woman, with dark hair, collapsed in an alley, one hand reaching towards her…
No, no, no. Not this. Not now. Shelley shrinks back, out of the entry hall, away from the spectre of a girl at the top of the stairs. She slips through the nearest open doorway, one hand going towards her head. What is she supposed to…? How does she…?
It's probably a good thing that healer O'Shea had insisted on her using the focusing charm several times a day, to train her mind. It made it a very easy spell to bring to mind. "Recenseo."

"C…. Confringo." The girl whispers, her wand trembling. The spell bursts forth from her wand, slamming into the chandelier, and sending it slamming against the far wall, torn from the ceiling and causing the front of the house to crumble some, and several dozen bricks to shift and fall. The doorway is blocked, by the chandelier falling in it's place with a cacophonous clamour. And then, she turns back from whence she came, walking slowly, as if in some kind of trance. Her voice barely audible. "I… It's this way."
"Good girl." The second voice is louder, prouder. The same voice that Shelley heard through the window on the third floor. Any travel upstairs would of course, involve walking past the remains…

It's not Alis. It's someone else. This isn't the /time/ for this, Shelley. This isn't the time for this. Someone is in trouble, and you're an auror, and you have a fucking /job/ to do, so stop being such a damned pansy.
Yes. She's a little hard on herself, sometimes.
She takes a deep breath in, letting it out slowly, letting silence grow after the roaring crash of the chandelier's destruction. She creeps back out into the entry hall, watching for signs of the figure in black. Was there more than one? There was no way to know.
She has to go upstairs - she knows it. She creeps carefully, trying to make no sound - trying desperately not to look at the corpse. She has a job to do.

Alis lies there, body caved in, a victim of dark magic and dark wills. Her eyes upwards, gazing, her arms outstretched, positioned asa threat and a warning. The damaged Auror might be torn from her friend by the soft snicker of delight from the room nearby. "A hidden chamber. Of course. Stand watch, little one. The woman who hurt dear Mr. Cartwright might still be lurking, and heaven knows she might get past him. Even with your little blockade."
The 'study' is a small room with a oak desk that dominates the space. But neither the dark witch know her nervous charge are standing anywhere near it. There's a bookcase instead, the middle panel opened inwards like a door. The girl in white stands beside it, her wand pointed at the only entrance. Trembling, as she tries to fight the curse that controls every movement of every muscle in her body. "Please…" She whispers again. "Please don't make me…" The Dark Witch has already disappeared. And there's only one place she could have gone.

"No, Alis, I can't. I can't," Shelley whispers. "This isn't now. This isn't right." She hurries past the corpse, wiping roughly at her eyes, grasping desperately at sand that was beginning to trickle through her fingers. She's an auror, and she has a job to do. A girl in trouble. She has to do this - she has to do this /quickly/, before she's lost.
She goes to the study, crouching low. People watch at head height. People expect you to enter standing. She peeks - and having no time for caution, attacks the girl. "Stupefy." At least she'll be safely out of the way.

The woman in white's eyes widen, her mouth moving. "Protego…" Whispered, just following orders. The shield barely has any affect. The jet of red light slams into the young woman, picking her up and flicking her into the bookcase savagely. As much a victim as anyone here, the Imperius curse doesn't keep her from blacking out after the attack… It's the warning her controller needed, become visible as she walks /swiftly/ from the bookcase-door, holding a worn black case in one hand - Perhaps a 20L container.
More importantly her wand is out. And she has the same lack of caution, of hesitation, and pity. The stranger is met with a flick of her wand, and a sternly barked, "Stupefy!"

Having pulled back behind the doorway, Shelley can feel the wall rattle with the force of the spell hitting it. She rises to her full height now - she needs the mobility to dodge - and steps out of cover a moment later, into the doorway to cast, and then another step past the doorway, to the opposite side. "Stupefy!" she cries again. It's her strongest spell, and with her mind crumbling bit by bit, she clings to it like a familiar friend.
"Aurors! Surrender your wand!" she adds firmly. She doesn't expect the woman to comply - but she has to try.

The Dark Witch finds herself confronting an Auror. And her choice? "Deflecto!" The spell barely veers at all, the jet of red that hits her sends her back from when she can, tumbling back into the secret room with a few audible thuds, and the sound of glass shattering. There's not just that though - Noises from across the landing, a gentle crackling and the beginnings of a flickering orange light. Whatever is happening here, someone seems determined to do some harm to the Willis family.

Well. Was that it? Shelley starts towards the study, before the signs of flickering light catch her attention. /Damnit/. I- she… Fire. She has to get away from the fire. There's a girl. She has to- No, no, no, no! She doesn't have /time/ for this! "Bombarda!" She grits her teeth just /saying/ that spell word, aiming it towards a window. Knock out the window. Get to the girl. Get her out. She hauls the girl towards the window - taking her wand as she does so. "Descendo." There was someone else. Wasn't there someone else? "Alis, I need your help. Alis?" No. That wasn't right. /Something/ wasn't right.

There's a voice from behind. "Narelle!" Masculine. The male who wields it tall, slender, and equally darkly hooded. "Quit having your fun and kill the girl." Swiftly walking across the landing, towards the study. 'Narelle', the hooded witch that Shelley'd barely had a glimpse of, still lies unconscious within, clutching whatever it was she came here for. His wand is white, almost like it's made of bone - And it's up, and pointed at the Auror instead. "You. Stupefy." The words are said with the careless edge of a man who is used to such annoyances. The darkness beneath his hood consumes any attempt to look upon his face.

Wha- "Deflecto!" Shelley calls hastily, running on instinct and training. Where is Alis? She has to find her! There's a fire! "Stupefy!" she counters her turn, aiming her attack towards the unfamiliar man. What is going on? Where is she?

"Deflecto." The Dark Wizard mutters dismissively, a flick of his wand sending the stunner off to the side. "Enough - Avada—" That might have been it for Shelley Prewett, former Auror, were it not for the recovery of Narelle, emerging through the doorway in righteous fury. "STUPEFY!" The Witch screams, the stunning spell slamming into Shelley and throwing her out of hole she greated with /great/ force. The killing curse subsequently misses. The voice of the dark wizard is harsh, as he glances to make sure that his companion still holds the equipment. The glow from the opposite wing has grown brighter. "Go. I'll see to Miss Willis."
"What of the Auror?"
"Her death will only bring more trouble. Let them see this as an act of violence."

When the Auror regains consciousness, the fire is well established. The spell has thrown her a good dozen or so meters from the blaze, more than far enough to ensure that she's not in active risk of burning alive. The body of the young woman she's tried to save doesn't lie far from her, although it's already obvious that saving her has failed. The blank look in her glassy eyes, the complete lack of movement.

The Willis Manor burns, and with it, the secret of Abram Willis has been kept. Whatever lies in that slender black case claims it's fourth victim, while destroying the most obvious evidence that it was ever created. Still, for them to be aware of it's existence, surely there are clues to be had somewhere. Sirens begin to sound off in the distance, as the Muggle fire department begin to respond. Unknowing that soon, they'll have their memories of this moment tampered with.

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