Two snakes glided through the maze, tasting the breeze at each intersection. Occasionally, they would slither through a hedge to determine what lay on the other side.
The two serpents were an odd pair. One was an albino corn snake, slightly larger than its companion, and much showier. The other was a snouted cobra with banded black and yellow zones on its body. As if commanded, the pair returned to a small red headed woman, who crooned and hissed at them softly before following their directions through the maze.
A snake coiled over each of her arms, but left her free to use the Beater's bat she carried everywhere. Mandy was ready to meet the Order.
Post by Casey Winslow on Nov 24, 2010 0:09:46 GMT -8
It wasn't unusual to find Casey out this time of the day. Then again, it was when he was alone. Ever since he had come to the safe house a week or so ago, he had at least had his cousin by his side if not some person he was trying to convert to his way of seeing things. However, this afternoon, it was time for a break. He had just had a fairly heated argument with his son this morning, and he needed time to regather himself before he even thought about new ways to get the Order to see his view on things--the correct view on things.
He understood why Julian hated him. His life had been in constant upheaval and turmoil since December 19, 2008. Truthfully, it had been in turmoil longer. He knew Julian had spoken with his mother while he was depressed. He knew Julian knew how worried Evie had been about him. He didn't know how much Evie had told Julian, but still, a mother's worry for her husband didn't go unnoticed by her children. That night, Death Eaters had returned, though, and they had gone into hiding immediately after as Williams had proven to still be after Evie, had tried to kill her for the umpteenth time. And that had resulted in the death of his little sister and unborn twin siblings. Ultimately, it resulted in Evie's death only shortly after he had sent him away to stay here.
He couldn't blame Julian for how he felt, for all he blamed him for, but honestly, it still hurt every time he heard the words, heard the accusations, the venom fueling the soon-to-be thirteen-year-old's words. He had to find some way to make it all up to him, to get things back to how they were (or as close as they could be, given the circumstances), but he didn't know how to do that without continuing on the quest he himself had gotten involved in unwittingly at age 16. Now, he was 33. Seventeen years of his life wasted. Seventeen years of constant struggle that had cost him his wife. Some choice that had been. He should've abandoned the cause when he'd nearly been killed while undercover as a Death Eater at age 19, but now he was too invested. If he didn't succeed in anything, the greater half of his life would have been spent doing so much for nothing.
Just as Casey was about to place his foot down as he began to turn away from the fountain a good few yards from the maze and return inside to go to his room, he noticed a redhead emerging from the maze. And what a spectacle she was. Aside from her orange hair, there were snakes around each arm and a beater's bat (something he recognized well from his years on the pitch, though he himself had been a seeker). It was almost enough to make him laugh--almost. He stayed where he was, cocking his head slightly as he watched her. Who was she? Obviously someone on their side, but who? "Hello?"
She began a sputtering greeting in reply, but stopped herself. Clearing her throat, she began again in english.
"Hello. I seek shelter. I think I may have killed a few people tonight, and none of them were your friends. Nor were they mine, to think of it...and that would make us at least allies. I am Amanda. Or Hermes. These two...Andromeda and Perseus." She indicated the snake with a shrug of the shoulder when each was named. The cobra, Andromeda, elevated a foot of her body and tasted the air in Casey's direction.
Post by Casey Winslow on Nov 28, 2010 21:59:38 GMT -8
Casey rose a brow and flexed his fingers, a quiet cracking sound coming from his knuckles as he did so. No, as much as he was rethinking not grabbing his wand, he couldn't take it out now even if most parselmouths he had heard of were supposedly dark witches and wizards. This strange spectacle of a young woman was seeking shelter, she said. He scrunched his brows slightly together as she continued her explanation and introduction, particularly when she said she was Amanda--or Hermes. Did that mean Amanda was a given name and Hermes was a nickname she preferred? But what a strange way of putting it...wasn't it? Didn't most people say instead, "I'm X, but they call me Y," or, "I'm X, but call me Y," or, "I'm X, but I prefer Y"?
Casey continued simply to stare at her for a few moments after she finished speaking as though still trying to make something of her. A strange young woman--a parselmouth, no less--with two snakes on her shoulders and a beater's bat had just come through the maze. She had to be an allie to even know how to get in here, right? But still... Remind him, what was the Order coming to? Oh, right. A bunch of lunatics and incompetent fools? Yeah, sounded about right. This really shouldn't be all that surprising, then. Of course, she had mentioned killing a few people, which...wasn't typical Order behavior these days or so he had surmised based on what he knew when he had left and what he had heard since before returning and even after.
"Well, Aman--err, Hermes?" He cleared his throat lightly and scratched the left side of his neck with his right hand. "I don't know if I can help you--or if anyone here will be willing to besides me--but I can see if I can find you a room somewhere...." Yeah, this was feeling really odd, a feeling the former Ravenclaw was not used to.
The cobra flared her hood menacingly and her tail tip began vibrating, making a dry buzzing sound. She hissed and drew back, but was held short by the girl hissing something in reply. The corn snake oozed its head over to the cobra's shoulder and down the girl's arm.
Hermes lowered the bat and looked back at Casey.
"Sorry about that...she doesn't trust anyone these days. I don't blame her, but I think I can trust you, even though I don't know your name. Were you a Death Eater, o cursed breed of vipers the lot of them, you'd have shot on sight. No...I think you're more than that. Please, lead on sir."
Her voice was soft and cryptic sounding, as if she mentally had to translate every word before speaking it.
Post by Casey Winslow on Dec 2, 2010 14:26:14 GMT -8
"...Were you a Death Eater, o cursed breed of vipers the lot of them, you'd have shot on sight. No...I think you're more than that. Please, lead on sir."
Casey snorted lightly. At least someone realized what he'd been trying to drill into people's heads. He was actually starting to like this girl. She seemed to have a good enough head about her even if she appeared a little wild, but who knew her story and who was he to judge? Even he wondered sometimes if his own head was on straight after years fighting an opponent that seemed unwilling to just give up. Keeping a decent pace, Casey lead the girl towards the Corporum building and inside. Once inside, his speed increased slightly, wanting to get past the other people and avoid the chance of running into Kara. As far as he knew, the room just down the hall from his on the second floor still was unoccupied. So, that's where he headed, pushing the door open once he reached it. Sure enough. Empty.
He glanced back at the redhead as he stepped inside, waiting for her to follow. "I don't believe it would be a problem if you stayed here. Never seen anyone use this room." He stood there a moment, contemplating whether he should leave her to settle herself in or ask her story. "So, I'll leave you to it?" he decided on, remaining where he was near the door for the time being. If she wanted him to stay, he would. It wasn't like he had anything else to do or anywhere else to be.
Spartan would have been a liberal description of the room that offered to the trio of fugitives, but it was more than enough for girl and serpents. Standing in the door, Mandy looked about the room and smiled very softly. “This shall do for us…we plan on building explosives, but…we’ll do that elsewhere. Perhaps outside would be safest. But…yes. Pardon my saying it, since I don’t even know your name, but you wear a heavy burden…” Her eyes drifted around the room, then stuck straight to Casey’s as she continued. “Williams will regret every blame I place upon him. I will personally tally my account with him. I think you too, have some tallying. Perhaps, some night, you and I shall get together and compare the score sheets, and I shall teach you some things about muggle explosives.” Her small smile grew into a predatory grimace with the invitation. Finally, she broke eye contact and set her bat down. Both of her snakes began exploring the room while the girl transferred her position to the window. “If…if you would stay and talk for a while, I’ve not spoken with someone…as an equal…for…too long. Far too long. “
Post by Casey Winslow on Dec 9, 2010 0:44:38 GMT -8
Casey gave a nod at her words. It had been far too long for him, too. His fight with Kara had been months ago, and things hadn't even begun to mend between them since his arrival at the safe house. If anything, his attitude of trying to whip things into shape had earned further disapproval from her. He was sure she probably thought there was nothing to fix or whip into shape, probably thought he was ignorant and that they were doing what they could. Well, whatever. She was wrong. They all were wrong. He thought his experience and sacrifices for the sake of the Order over the years warranted him the ability to determine that fact whether they liked it or not.
"I suppose I'll stay. I've nowhere to go, and I must say, you've made me feel a little curious. After all, the Order these days? Well, let's say, they're afraid to get their hands dirty. I'm more than a little surprised they even managed to break out Noland and McNally. Then again, McNally was always a bit of a loose canon even in his Auror days. My siblings liked that about him. So did I, the while I was on the force." Ok, he was rambling. Surprise, surprise. Normal for him when he wasn't entirely certain what to say, and he knew that, but still.... He scratched the side of his neck before shoving his hands into his pocket and looking around. Spotting a wicker chair in front of the desk that sat before single window in the room, he motioned towards it. "May I?" He'd scoot it closer to the bed in case she wanted to sit, too. Then, they could talk more comfortably.
Carefully, Mandy listened to this man. Hermes had at least approved enough to go off guard, which let the more timid personality shine. He spoke of being an auror, and that sent a shiver down the girl. She had been accused, falsely, of her parent's murder. Aurors had taken her that day, and for the next ten years, she was jailed. Would this man understand what it was like? Perhaps.
She nodded mutely when he asked if he could take a seat. She likewise moved to take a seat. Her posture was rigid at first, slowly melting as she reminded her body that she wasn't going to get slapped for relaxing. She stared at her feet for a short while, tensing at the momentary silence.
"I killed my masters....was a slave before coming here, Azkaban before that...didn't even DO what got me put in there in the first place...." She shook her head emphatically, then looked up at Casey. Perhaps he'd heard of the Grey murder?
"About...twelve years? That long now? Twelve years ago, the murders in the United States, supposedly caused by a Dark Cult? The Dark Mark was above my parent's homes...I was charged because I'm a snake-speaker, whaddya call it...Parslemouth...my friend taught me at school..." She realized she was rambling and her voice dropped off suddenly. She looked back down at her feet submissively as Perseus slithered out from under the bed.
Post by Casey Winslow on Dec 12, 2010 15:30:01 GMT -8
And now it was Casey's turn to listen. He moved the chair close to the bed when she sat, sitting on it backwards and resting his arms on the back of the seat as he waited for the girl to break the silence she had allowed to set in after he asked to sit. He was almost tempted to begin rambling again when she finally began to speak. He nodded to attempt to show he believed her when she shook her head emphatically while talking about the crime she had falsely been accused of. The girl had no reason to lie, and while she seemed different than most, he couldn't peg her as the murder-my-own-parents type.
He was quiet a moment as he thought about what to say. He had heard about it. Being an Order member at the time, fairly new though he might have been at that point, he had heard of every incident with the Dark Mark, and the Order had spoke of it, though they had done little more than send one of their more conspicuous members overseas to investigate what the Death Eaters had been after. Finding nothing revealing, the member had returned. They all knew that though the American Ministry had pegged the crime on the daughter of the family, there was no way it was possible. She'd been way too young. Sure, he'd seen a fourteen-year-old perform some Unforgivable Curses, so he had known a fifteen-year-old could, but why would the Death Eaters have recruited someone so young overseas? It just hadn't made any sense. Even to the day Moody had died and many of the other more experienced members had died or given up hope, they still had found no answer to the case.
Casey pulled himself from his thoughts at the sight of a snake slithering out from beneath the bed. He dismissed it as no threat and returned his eyes to Mandy. "I remember that case--the one about your parents, anyway. I'm afraid the masters part was kept hushed at the time, but it doesn't surprise me. Masters was still undercover as Crane. We had no idea the government was so corrupt at its core at the time. We foolishly allowed ourselves to believe we had truly achieved peace." He sighed, shaking his head. "I understand if it's too insensitive of me to ask or you don't want to talk about it, but...we always wondered: what were the Death Eaters after? It wasn't--isn't--often you heard of the Dark Mark overseas. They had to be after something your parents had."
Hermes flared suddenly, mentally shoving Mandy aside. This man had known? Had known she was innocent and left a defenseless girl to rot in jail? A snarl painted itself over her face as the grey eyes flashed like steel.
"So you let her rot, eh? Was it because you were powerless or unwilling to speak out? Thats the whole problem, in the first place, see? Mother was...too outspoken. Mentioned once too many times in public the fact that she thought England's power suspicious. Too many time she swore Master's face looked familiar...she crusaded against the Dark Arts, and we all payed the price...some more than others. She FOUGHT. And what has happened here? Cowards hiding in a safehouse? Ridiculous, just absolutely ridiculous." She started making motions to stand, snapping "Enjoy your slavery..." before one of the snakes under the bed hissed. The cobra slithered out to join Perseus. Both of their tails were quivering and rattling against the floor, making a rattlesnake like buzzing. A series of hisses from the pair had Hermes sitting down again.
The girl dropped her head into her hands. Several deep breaths and a short sob later, Mandy was back in control. She apologized softly several times before falling silent.
Post by Casey Winslow on Dec 12, 2010 19:51:21 GMT -8
What the hell? He was being blamed for her imprisonment? On something he had no jurisdiction over, something he hadn't even been researching? What was he supposed to have done? Allowed his disgust towards the injustice of it all to drive him to singlehandedly drive him to go and figure out how to break her out of Azkaban? It wasn't like he had been an auror at the time to even really know its exact location. They hadn't had to worry about that since none of their own had been captured. And then how was he to know she had been transferred as a slave to some person? It wasn't like slavery had exactly been legal and common knowledge for more than two years and some odd months! He had been ignorant. That was his only crime. It wasn't like he could have seen through the polyjuice Masters had used. He wasn't even entirely certain when it had ceased being Minister of Magic Walter Crane and become Harold Masters, a Death Eater everyone--even the Death Eaters themselves--had assumed dead. Maybe Masters had said. He wasn't sure. He'd been too busy trying to deal with the aftermath of his wife's kidnapping, and he had no clue what her masters' names were, so how was he to have even realized who she killed and when. Up until recently he had only been paying attention to any reports involving "Lady Evelyn Williams" (AKA Evie Winslow, his wife), but now she was dead, and forgive him if he had little real clue what was going on in the real world.
Anger was written all over Casey's face as he stared in silence at the redhead...Mandy...Hermes...whatever her damn name was! If she wanted to leave over something like this, then good riddance! It wasn't his fault. It wasn't the Order's fault either. They'd done what they could, and they'd found nothing. Nothing! No evidence proving exactly who had done it or proving her innocent or guilty. Besides that, they had no jurisdiction on American soil, even if they were to somehow have a judge or attorney on their team back then.
Then, the unexpected happened. She didn't stand after all, but instead she let her head drop to her hands and took several breaths and apologized after a sob. What the hell was with this girl? She really was odd--a bit of a loose cannon, really. He stared at her in confusion. "What the hell was that?" he asked, his brows furrowed as his blue eyes tried to get a read on her. But he couldn't continue to yell at her, not when she had apologized and certainly not when she was obviously deeply troubled. He knew that look, that feeling of losing control of one's emotions. Maybe he hadn't been quite so sudden in his shifts, but still...... That was beside the point; the point was he had an idea of the anguish she was in, just for completely different reasons and situations. He felt so confused right now.
"That was Hermes...and I'm so sorry...I-I don't think I can control it...." Both snakes nuzzled her ankles and hissed something. Mandy looked at them and sputtered something back, visibly relaxing from the serpentine conversation.
"They say she's just an offshoot...nothing dangerous...not to you at least. If anyone is threatened by...by her then I guess it would be me. I'm beginning to wonder if she will kill me..."
By no means did Mandy mean to be so ambiguous. Simple lack of human conversation had dropped her interaction abilities to almost nil, so when she spoke, it was if she was speaking to herself or to the snakes. The trouble she had of looking Casey in the eye, or at him in general gave her a very submissive air that contrasted sharply with the mood she had originally lashed at him with.
Post by Casey Winslow on Dec 19, 2010 16:34:04 GMT -8
Ok, so he was talking to a crazy person. Oh boy. He'd known the girl was strange from first sight (Who walked around with two snakes on her shoulders?), but he hadn't suspected two personalities--though, that did explain the two names issue for him without the awkward conversation. Still, he thought this was a little more awkward. What was he supposed to say? It wasn't every day he ran into someone with multiple personalities. Maybe he'd get Luc--Oh wait, Sam had said she'd taken off. Well, he had no idea who he'd have take a look at her, but....
Then, she mentioned something about "they say." Did this mean she'd seen someone already? No potions to take to help, though? He was pretty sure they had something for things like this. Maybe he was wrong. Her last sentence, however, took Casey's mind away from trying to determine how to best approach or help the girl. Hopefully it wasn't a suicide threat or something--not that he was one to judge. "Kill you?" he asked as though merely wanting clarification. He couldn't treat her like she was crazy. From personal experience (with something different, but still...), he knew that was the worst thing he could do.
A small smile quirked Mandy's mouth. "That WAS a bit dramatic, wasn't it? Sorry..." She looked up briefly, looking into Casey's eyes. Her own grey eyes started darting around the room afterwards as she thought for a moment.
"Well...how to best put this...I'm not quite sane...okay, understatement, yes, I know." She answered the interrupting hiss one of the snakes said. She looked down at them again and held her hand out. The corn snake glided up her arm and around her shoulders in a serpentine hug.
"Well, what would you think if you had an alter identity that had a penchant for killing people and blowing things up? Last I knew, being a runaway slave was enugh to get me killed, never mind all the other things she's done."
Yes, she sounded crazy. There was a certain comfort in that, however. One could not go MORE insane once you already were there. Yessiree...only direction to go was up from here on out.
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