Rowan had teleported as far as she could in the marsh, when the death surge hit her. Luckily, she'd picked a sturdy tree root nock in which to curl up in, when the usual tremors began. Sadly, already resigned to said side-effects she merely clenched her teeth and shut her eyes as she channeled the incoming magic being poured through her body. The enlarged vessels inside her body somehow manage to cope with the sudden influx of magic and did their best to absorb the turbulent pouring in magic into her body.
The minutes slowly seem to pass by and until at long last the waves of magic finish pouring in. Gasping Rowan tiredly lay there and tentatively opened her mind mapscape. Nothing much had changed beyond that she could now jump to any previous location that she had visited. Well, at that least solved some of her future problems, but she would definitely need to do some traveling over the summer if at all possible.
However, at the same time Rowan also felt there was something wrong with her body. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but it was there and present in the corner of her magic like a cancerous thing. It was as though her body and magic had reached their utmost limit and any further absorption would come with disastrous consequences. Like drinking poison to become immune to poisons, but still even a single extra drop of poison could destroy everything that had been so fiercely worked for. It was like there was a taint to her magic that had not been there before.
The sound of crunching footsteps in the nearby marshes caused Rowan to cease her train of thoughts. She instantly freezes and stills her own breath as best as she can. She was still in the process of recovering, and she couldn't use her wand yet nor much less teleport away. Feeling weak and rather vulnerable she remained completely and utterly still as she waited for the Death Eaters to pass.
The footsteps instead begin to sound closer and closer until they're standing right next to her. From beneath the tree roots, Rowan can peek up and sees pairs of dark robes with boots. A familiar voice causes her to freeze as she hears, S.R. Wilkes say, "Do you think a swamp creature got her, Lestrange? I doubt she could get very far in this mist especially in an unknown bog."
"I don't know," Rodolphus's cool voice replied. "But she is a Prince and therefore is not to be underestimated."
"There is nothing that interesting about her," Wilkes snorted. "At least not that I have ever found."
"Mmm, you are a most fascinating piece of puzzle, Wilkes," Rodolphus mused out loud.
"And why is that, Lestrange? Is it my youth or is my lack of emotions towards a former classmate?"
"At times I think I can still see the true Wilkes, a youth, eager to please, bewildered at the choices he has made," Rodolphus slowly said. "And then we have you, the cold calculating Wilkes. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that you were two different people."
Wilkes snorts and says, "I'm merely very good at wearing different masks, Lestrange."
"Mm, perchance," Rodolphus muttered. "But that does not explain your own skill level. That is not something one just picks up at Hogwarts."
"Is that a threat, Lestrange?"
"No, merely an astute observation, Wilkes."
"Then keep your eyes to yourself, Lestrange. We wouldn't want a repeat of your brother, now, would we?"
There is a heavy feeling in the air as Rodolphus says, "And what is that supposed to mean, Wilkes? My brother is dead."
"My point exactly," Wilkes airily replied. "Had he been cleverer, he'd have dodged or taken a human shield."
"I see, I thought you meant something else," Rodolphus lied. "Let's split up, I'll go this way, and you press onward that way."
Wilkes snorts and says, "Fine then." Without turning around, he hears Lestrange walk away. Wilkes remain standing there for a minute, when he hears footsteps approach him from behind. "Lestrange?" Wilkes asked without turning back.
Rodolphus did not answer pointing a crooked, thin, unfamiliar elm wand at the back of Wilkes. A wordless Severing Charm is cast, Wilkes suddenly clutches at his neck to only find his throat had been slit from end to end.
Wilkes never saw his attacker as he choked on his own blood and fell into the muddy ground. Breaking the wand in two, Rodolphus throws the wand a short distance away as he patiently waits for the thirty seconds to pass before Wilkes ceases to breath. Wilkes weakly paws at his throat the warmth of his body oozes out of his gaping neck.
"I am not sorry," Rodolphus chillingly remarked in passing, "But I needed to confirm something."
Wilkes couldn't hear Lestrange words over his gurgling breath. Finally, with a great haggard breath that dies off as soon as it starts until at last Wilkes dies. Strangely, a black like fog escapes from his mouth to form the ancient rune that of a Hydra. The dark symbol dissipates into the mist and vanishes.
"So, it's true," Rodolphus whispered to himself only so he could hear.
Rowan merely gaped at the body of Wilkes a short distance away. As she had seen from her vantage point the ancient rune symbol that arose in the mist. A Hydra. Is that what mother snake had meant? The unknown puppeteer was literally a Hydra in that sense?
The rustle awakens her as Rodolphus says, "Little snake, hurry up and come out."
Rowan warily comes out and stares at the tall, dark haired man with cold eyes. "Crow?"
"So, you're who sparrow was referring too."
"Makes sure to walk behind him as if you pointed the wand at him," Rodolphus said. "I'm going to need an alibi."
"Understood," Rowan said, before watching Lestrange disappear into the fog.
Doing as she is told; Rowan walks over as instructed all the while storing most of the night's events in the Prince Manor Mindscape. Making sure everything was locked down, she teleported away.
A mere minute later, Rodolphus threw red sparks into the sky and walked back to the scene of the crime. The little snake thankfully was already gone. But still the night's events severely bothered him. Wilkes was certainly no Horcrux, but neither was he in possession of himself. Muggles called such a dark art, demonic possession, and there was some truth to it. For never in his years as a wizard and in his study of the dark arts had he ever come across such a foul act.
Whoever was behind it was someone with a great deal more power than either Dumbledore or Voldemort. It was someone very dangerous who could literally become anyone. The missing cup from Bellatrix's vault had proven that. And like the ancient mythical Hydra, when one head was cut off two more would spring up in its place. But the worst part of it all, said Hydra could become anyone really.
Rodolphus quickly cleared his inner thoughts as his cold mask remained in place. Death Eaters rush in with their wands held high. Voldemort rushes at them in a smoky form as he transforms back into a man. Before Voldemort can speak, he spots the still warm corpse of Wilkes.
"Who did this?!" Voldemort hissed in fury his crimson eyes glowing malevolently in the night.
"I don't know, milord," Rodolphus Lestrange carefully said. "But what I do know is that Wilkes and only split up for a minute or so, when I heard the sound of a loud scuffle. I immediately fired my wand blindly in the direction of the scuffle, no doubt injuring the other party. And when I had arrived to clearing Wilkes was already dead on the ground, and his murderer long gone. I believe that someone has betrayed us or there is a spy among us as the Prince child is now longer in the marshes."
Voldemort is furious and begins to Crucio, his Death Eaters left and right. Rodolphus is no exception as he too is found prone onto the muddy floor. Breathing hard with nostrils flaring finally Voldemort pulls back. "All is not lost yet, Pyrite still remains."
Rodolphus Lestrange does not ask what that meant. For he has a terrible foreboding feeling he already knows the exact answer to that question. He can only hope the little snake had not yet let her guard down. But she was clever, he'd seen her eyes filled with a cold, wary light.
Those were not the eyes of a child, but of a world weary individual willing to throw away the last of their humanity if necessary, in order to survive. Which filled him with more confidence enough to relax for the little snake was a Slytherin, and a Slytherin always found a way to survive and come out on top, no matter what the cost.
Whirling around, Voldemort says, "Gather that which still remains. We will temporarily be relocating to Albania." Without another word the Death Eaters march back or apparate to gather their things. They had traveling doc.u.ments and bags to prepare. And the Dark Lord was not a patient man, most especially on this night of all nights.