LOCATION: Hogwarts corridors, Astraea's office
TIME: Sunday afternoon/evening
WHAT: Astraea prepares to take down the spell holding Hogwarts in another dimension. This unfortunately requires Conlaed.
Astraea walks calmly through the halls of Hogwarts, measured footsteps ringing out in the empty corridor. In the distance, she can hear the sounds of the horde attacking the school – her school – and picks up the pace.
Their plan is an adequate one for something put together on spur of the moment, although by necessity it has separated her from her cousin. Ordinarily this wouldn’t faze her, but when his replacement is—
“They will not draw any closer simply because you are looking over your shoulder and wishing, Conlaed.” Spoken by anyone else to anyone else it might have been a joke, but Astraea doesn’t joke and she has the feeling that, had she not told him, he truly wouldn’t have known.
“Step faster,” she instructs, doing so herself. “There is much to do, and little time in which to do it.”
“So why don’t we run?” the Gryffindor asks, breaking into a jog.
“Because—” The effect is instant, a magical barrier springing up to surround them, to impede both progress and escape. She closes her eyes for a moment, gathers herself, and lays a pale hand on Conlaed’s shoulder to prevent him from charging headlong into the thing. “Panic will trigger Ultimecia’s traps.” The ’you idiot’ goes unsaid.
“Who’s panicking?” Conlaed demands, his manner somewhat subdued; certain that he is not about to disturb the trap further, Astraea removes her hand.
“The traps are hardly advanced,” she pointed out. “In addition, a trigger such as this prevents people from moving around the school at speed. It would appear that Ultimecia is not so confident as she would have us believe.”
She taps a finger against her lips, thinking. There is the option of overwhelming the trap with a short, sharp burst of concentrated power, similar to the Muggle concept of electricity, but she does not possess the magical reserves for such a thing, and while Conlaed does, she will require his assistance later. Unfortunate though it might be, her only true option is to—
“Stupefy,” she intones coolly, not wasting time on watching as her companion’s eyes roll back in his head and he crumples; the magical barrier shimmers for a moment and then falls.
Astraea glances over her shoulder for a moment at her companion’s prone form, and thoughtfully murmurs a Hovering Charm, floating his body through the halls until they reach her office. She sets the man in a spare chair and proceeds to barricade the door, marking it with runes against the dead, alchemic circles, arithmancy. Then, with a wave of her wand, she clears a space in the centre of her office.
...She’s irritated, she decides quite suddenly, walking over to her desk and opening a drawer – a dimensional pocket that leads to anywhere in the castle. These children are the potential, the future and once again the Ministry has failed, the Board has failed, she, perhaps, has failed. It’s not something that sits well with Astraea, and she bends her mind now to making amends. Through the drawer, she withdraws several books, supplies from the Ancient Runes and Potions stores, meticulously noting each one for later reimbursement before getting down to work.
It’s a process of hours, delicate, precise work. Inwardly, Astraea can admit surprise that with eight years of Azkaban behind her, Ultimecia had possessed the presence of mind to create something similar. But then, she supposes, the sorceress would not have taken the precaution that the Vice-Chairperson is now, would have trusted the power of her spells over the certainty of runes. Astraea can’t afford to take that chance, though, not with so much at stake; regardless, she does not possess the same decades of study in the area of time magic that Ultimecia does, so the point is moot.
Eventually, however, the circle is complete, despite Astraea’s inner musings. Inscribed on the floor of her office, imbued with her own magic to direct it, all it requires now is Conlaed’s strength to power it; Astraea steps carefully around her crafting, a cloaking spell on her feet ensuring that not even the vibrations of her movements will disturb what she has put in place. She reaches for her journal and flips a page over, speaking through the Board lock.
“You are certain of the parameters, Demetrius?” she asks evenly. The information she has worked into the runic circle must be precise, perfect.
The sounds of battle flood her quiet office. “I checked them myself,” he replied. He sounds breathless, hurt, perhaps and Astraea experiences a brief spark of concern that this battle will be his last.
“That does not answer my question,” she replied shortly, flicking her wand to float Conlaed’s chair further away from the circle, casting the same cloaking spell on him.
“I’m certain, cousin.” And a note of that infernal humour of his touches his voice. “And if I’m wrong, you’ll certainly have enough time here to berate me about it.”
Her lips purse slightly. Now is not the time – however, if Demetrius feels it appropriate to joke, then he likely does not fear his calculations to be incorrect. “Indeed.” She shuts the journal, ignoring the faint ‘be careful’ that resounds from it as she surveys her work, checking for inconsistencies, mistakes. Unsurprisingly, she finds none, and deems it time to wake Conlaed – as much as she would prefer to do this without him, she requires his brute strength.
“ Rennervate.” She begins speaking the moment he starts to awareness again, not giving him the considerable time he needs to think. “The preparations are complete. You will transfer your magical energy to me, and I will focus it through the circle to cast the spell.” Simple enough, she thought, and with hardly any large words to confuse him.
“...Where am I?” The tone to his voice is just as lost as the expression on his face. Astraea resists the urge to sigh.
“You are in my office, Conlaed. You lost consciousness earlier, and I was required to carry out the preparations on my own.” She leaves no time for him to pick his way through that one; haste is of the essence. “You are able to conduct an energy transference, correct?”
He stares at her for a moment, and she returns an impatiently raised eyebrow has she notes the frightening absence of anything resembling rational thought or reasoning in his expression. “You want me to what?”
“Conlaed.” A cigarette when this is over, Astraea decides. “This spell is the spell required to return Hogwarts to its rightful dimension, that we may request aid from the Ministry. It necessitates a staggering amount of power to cast, an amount that I am not in possession of, but you are. You, however, do not possess the knowledge or the patience or the delicacy to operate a runic circle such as this, thus you are required to perform an energy transference with me in order for me to direct the magic appropriately into the circle.” A pause, as she considered the best way to go about this. “If you were to do such a thing, you could very well be considered a hero when this is over. Saviour of Hogwarts, perhaps.”
His frightfully dim face brightens with a smirk that makes the woman glad she is in possession of a limited gag reflex. “Well, well, we-heh-hell.” He draws the sound out, obnoxiously. “Why didn’t you say that in the first place? Let’s get started.”