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#8170
Location: Albania • Date: 9 September 1999 | Evening


Part 1: The Cave

There was a loud cracking sound and then suddenly a slim hooded figure appeared. A few birds, startled by the noise, flew off into the drizzly rain, protesting angrily. The hooded figure walked out of the dark forest and then looked up at the top of the hill.

Bocari Castle stood there. It was in ruins, of course. It had been abandoned since the 17th century. The rectangular walls were in decay, but it was still impossible to see much of the tower at the center of the courtyard.

The cloaked figure drew back her hood, allowing pale blonde tresses to fall to her sides. She blinked a few times, her green-blue eyes looking up at the tower and then down at the ground.

I was supposed to appear a lot closer, Lilith Daemon thought to herself. Shouldn’t I be up there? When she had cast her targeted apparation, she had been very specific about where she wanted to go. She had assumed it would take her right to the center of the castle’s courtyard. She started to trek up the hill, toward the walls. What she was looking for was in the tower.

Or was it? She stopped in her tracks and looked around. Her eyes stopped at a dark spot on the side of the hill, just in front of where she originally appeared. Was that a cave?

Lilith pulled her hood back over her head and walked toward what was now obviously an opening in the side of the hill. It was a a rocky entrance, nearly hidden by moss and overgrowth. But it was definitely a cave. She had no idea how deep it was, but something told her that the spell hadn’t misfired after all. She wasn’t supposed to enter the tower. What she wanted was right here. After taking a deep breath, she raised a slim arm out of her cloak, revealing her long, dark wand.

“Reducto!” the blonde said, her usual soft, but high voice a bit more commanding. A flash of light shot from the ebony wand and struck the overgrowth and rocks in front of her, blasting them into pieces. The cave entrance was now open to her.

Lilith raised her wand in front of her and wordlessly caused the tip to light up. She walked into the cave, careful to avoid tripping over any of the debris that formerly blocked her way. After a few feet the cave opened up, becoming more of a regular corridor. It was leading her down, but toward the center of the hill.

The former Ravenclaw began to walk faster. The ground was more regular and the path became easier the farther she went. After a while, it didn’t feel like she was getting any deeper. She pointed her wand to the side of the cave and her suspicions were confirmed. This was no longer a natural corridor. The walls were smoother and there was a definite ceiling. At some point she had entered a structure made by someone. She was now certain that she was in the right place.

The corridor turned upward, and Lilith slowed her pace. The air was becoming muggy and she found herself pulling her hood off her head and her cloak back, exposing her arms entirely. Her straight blonde hair seemed to glow from the light of the wand, and she was now regretting the sweater she wore over her blouse. After a few more minutes, she stopped and undid the bow around her collar, undoing the button and catching her breath.

Although she never once questioned why she was here, the break did cause her to reflect on what she was doing here. Two years ago, near the zenith of You-Know-Who’s second rise to power, Lilith and her family learned what had happened to her older sister, Morganna. Morganna, who Lilith had both idolized and resented nearly her entire life, had fallen to darkness.

Played By: Pamela
#8189
Part 2: Morganna Daemon

Whether Morganna was a death eater or not (and Lilith now doubted that), it was obvious that some type of magic had warped her. After two years of being completely out of communication, Morganna returned, appearing in front of the house. She was paler than usual, and her old ash blonde hair was now white -- not white blonde like Lilith, but a colorless shade. Her body was thin, almost gaunt -- nothing like the shapely form that had caused Lilith some jealously growing up. And Morganna’s blue eyes were now a disturbing red.

Morganna tried to be pleasant at first. She tried to explain that she had simply been pushing the boundaries of her knowledge, putting what Hogwarts taught her to good use. She rationalized her appearance by saying that some things she had seen and tried were a bit dangerous, but she had come through them fine. She argued that magic was magic, no matter what the source. And then she had said she wasn’t here to defend herself, or to seek approval.

The Daemon parents had been horrified. Although they, like their daughters, respected the pursuit of magical knowledge, they could never condone the practice of the dark arts. When their daughter finished, they asked why had she returned. Morganna had come to the family home for some books of her father’s. Her father, a researcher of ancient and esoteric magic, refused to cooperate and his eldest daughter took what she wanted by force and fled. Neither Morgan nor Lilliana Daemon were seriously injured, but they resolved to never forgive their daughter.

Lilith didn’t intend to forgive Morganna either, but Morganna’s transformation and the things she said only deepened the younger Daemon’s obsession with surpassing her sister. Lilith couldn’t do much that summer. But she did try to piece together her sister’s movements from the letters that Morganna had sent home in the years immediately after her graduation from Hogwarts.

And when Severus Snape took over Hogwarts, Lilith was presented with an amazing opportunity. The Carrows were cruel and sadistic, but they also opened the doorway to learning about magic and magical sites that professors in the past would never have exposed to students. Suddenly the restricted section wasn’t so restricted. The blonde Ravenclaw began to do even more research, linking her sister’s travels with places mentioned in formerly forbidden books.

Between her regular studies and the mystery of her sister, Lilith hardly even noticed a lot of the changes going on in the magical world. When it became apparent that the dark lord and his death eaters had taken over, the youngest Daemon’s only reaction was to wonder if her sister was part of it and if that would lead to another encounter.

It didn’t. The Battle of Hogwarts came and went without either Daemon’s apparent participation. Despite being a sixth year, Lilith had no intention of fighting against a wizard as powerful as You-Know-Who. She was quite certain that Harry Potter and his supporters were doomed. So she was shocked when she learned several days later that it was the dark lord who had been destroyed. The wizarding world breathed another sigh of relief, and death eaters and dark wizards everywhere scattered or were caught and destroyed by a reorganized (but weakened) Ministry.

The Daemons heard nothing from their daughter and concluded she had been destroyed with the Death Eaters who weren’t rotting away in Azkaban. Lilith was pretty sure they were wrong. And when she returned to Hogwarts for her seventh year (and to finish her NEWTs), she put what she thought was the final piece together.

With the dark lord’s seeming final destruction, information became a lot less guarded. And one particular rumor that made the rounds happened to match with something that Lilith discovered about Morganna. Many believed that You-Know-Who fled to Albania after his first defeat, and using some degree of deduction (and magical detection), Lilith tracked one of her sister’s last stops before returning home to that same country.

Lilith believed the key to finding out what her sister had found was at Castle Bocari, deep in the heartland of the small, mountainous, Mediterranean country.

Played By: Pamela
#8359
Part 3: The Box

The corridor became more and more regular as Lilith pressed on. The light from her wand was enough for her to make out markings on the sides. They were faded and she couldn’t read the language. She wondered absently if they were wards or had any kind of magical meaning, but she didn’t stop to examine them.

There was a sudden hissing sound and then a red flash. Lilith recognized what was happening just in time to swing her wand in front of her and block the hex with the shield spell. It had come from the end of the corridor, beyond what she could see with her light.

It was a trap, she thought to herself. She was breathing much faster now, adrenaline kicking in from her successful parry of the attack. She should have known that there was a chance someone would have placed defenses here. She had no idea what the bolt of energy would have done to her. It was easily stopped by her charm, suggesting maybe it wasn’t intended to block a witch of any ability.

Well, if Morganna made it through whatever is down here, then I certainly can, Lilith thought. She lowered her hood, recast her illumination spell, and pressed on.

****

An hour later, she was reassessing her confidence. The corridor had transformed, winding in different directions and creating numerous twists and turns. Each one, it seemed, had a different spelling waiting as a trap. Lilith had successfully fended them all off, but it hadn’t been easy.

Her cloak was burned in several locations, leaving gaping holes. She had labandoned her sweater after one trap coated it with some kind of smelly green goo, and her white blouse was now a sickly gray, both from ordinary dirt and grime, and a powder that fallen on her after she had destroyed some rocks that came flying at her. A series of strange, almost skeletal hands had grabbed at her when she hesitated at a bend, tearing her skirt in a few places. In short, she was now a mess.

But she was almost through. The blonde could see a light ahead. It was faint, but it was there. That’s it, she thought. That’s what I’m looking for. A part of her said that she was simply expressing her hope that was the end rather than any certain knowledge. But she ignored it. Fatigue and desperation made her strangely optimistic.

As she drew closer to the light she could see it was coming from a room. The light became more distinct and less of a bright blob. She slid through the entranceway and then stopped.

Lilith suddenly felt the most wonderful feeling spread over her. It was a floating sensation that made her light headed. All of the tension in her started to melt away, replaced with a vague sense of happiness and a strong surge of relaxation. Her arms dropped to her sides and her face became blank. She was only dimly aware of where she was and what she was doing.

“Drop your wand,” cooed a sweet, hypnotic voice inside her head. She almost did it immediately. Her fingers relaxed their grip, and the wand hung loosely in her left hand.

“Go on, drop it,” the voice repeated. It sounded like her own voice. This time it was a little more indistinct. A little more faded. The wand slid further down but she clung to the end of the handle. She didn’t drop it.

“Drop . . . it.” This time the voice was hard to hear and Lilith started to become more aware of her surroundings. Her fingers tightened on her wand and she blinked a few times.

That was an imperius curse, she thought. I just resisted an imperius curse trap. A feeling of giddiness came over her, which mixed with the remains of the sensations from the curse to make her almost euphoric. After a few seconds her features tightened.

“Get a grip, Lilith,” the blonde said out loud. She blinked a few times. The curse was obviously weak. Like the other traps, it was old and the magic controlling it had unraveled over time. If it had been full powered spell, she would probably be helpless right now.

The room was not brightly lit. It was square and there was no exit that she could see. The ceilings were a little higher than in the corridor. There was indistinct writing all over the wall. What few words Lilith could see were in a language she didn’t understand. In the center was a dais and on top of it was what looked like an ornate box.

Part of Lilith wanted to run up and grab the box, but her caution won out. She crept toward it, her wand at the ready. The box was a glossy black color and was about the size of her hand. It looked like it could be a jewelry box or something similar. There was some faded gold trim.

Specialis revelio!” Lilith called out, not wanting to risk a nonverbal casting. She stared at the box, but it didn’t even glow. That spell never works, she thought.

Obviously, it was dangerous to touch the box. It was probably even foolish. There was almost no chance that it wasn’t magical and there was a pretty good chance it was cursed. And something didn’t quite add up. If Morganna had been here and found something of significance, why had she left it? And if she hadn’t been here, then Lilith probably had no business being here either.

But she simply couldn’t resist. There was something in that box. It might be powerful. And her sister might have opened it. Lilith was older now, but that simply meant her girlish curiosity for any magical knowledge had become more of an obsession. And the idea of Morganna knowing something that she didn’t was why Lilith was here to begin with.

The blonde reached out with her right hand and touched the box. Nothing happened, so she tucked her wand into her skirt and used both hands to open it. Inside was what looked like old parchment. Lilith leaned in but before she could read it, there was a bright flash of purple light.

Lilith had no idea how long it had been when she finally realized she was just staring at the box. She blinked a few times and then looked closer at the parchment inside. It was actually a series of rolled sheets, tightly wound. The writing was very small, but it wasn’t hard for her to tell what was on it. It was spell instructions! Exactly what she could have wished for.

Lilith smiled coldly in self satisfaction and then closed the lid. She picked up the black box and turned and left the room, making her way back out of the corridor, and then through the cave.

A few moments after she left the room, a glossy black box, with faded gold trim, appeared on the dais.

Finis

Played By: Pamela