A Keeper of Sheep
A/N: Disclaimer, spoilers, author’s notes, etc., are at the beginning of chapter 1.
Ginny apparated along with Hermione at the side of a Muggle road. There was a field on either side of the road, and Ginny could see a convoy of cars and small trucks pulled far off the road and parked in the field on her right. In the darkness, the vehicles would be invisible to any Muggle passing by. Hermione pointed off at a wooded area on the other side of the vehicles and said, “That way.”
Ginny nodded and took a moment to try to sense any vampires. There was nothing nearby. They had all left the cars behind, wherever they were going. She said, “They’re a way off. I can’t sense them from here.”
Hermione nodded. “So I’ll bring Harry to the edge of the woods.”
Ginny said, “Tell him to use his Firebolt.” She pulled out her broom and took off in the direction Hermione had pointed.
She pushed her broomstick as fast as she could, and it tore across the grassy field at about fifteen feet above the ground. She didn’t want to be too easy to see, but she also didn’t want to run into a fence in the dark. Or a ward. Or a demon.
She reached the edge of the forest and tilted her broom upward so she could race up to the treetops. Then she headed over the forest, hoping to find the vampires before they could attack.
It took her less than a minute of fast flying before she felt the ugly, gut-wrenching sensation that told her she had found her prey.
And suddenly she was over a clearing. A large circle in the middle of an untouched forest. She could see a large manor house at the center of the clearing, with lavish gardens and grounds all around it.
And she could see a crowd of vampires streaming toward an open front door.
Even worse, there were probably demons around here, and she was guessing the Death Eater would stick around to be able to report back to Riddle. That meant that if she attacked the vampires directly, she was risking getting blindsided by whatever the demons and the wizard could throw her way.
She didn’t feel like she had a choice. She couldn’t let those vampires kill Susan and her family.
Suddenly, she heard Harry yell from behind her. “Go! I got your back!”
She leaned forward and jetted toward the vampires.
She wasn’t fast enough. She could see a dozen vampires crowding through the front door. Her heart sank as she thought about what she would find when she got inside.
Suddenly the room on the other side of the door lit up, and a tongue of fire lashed out through the doorway to incinerate anything directly in front of the door. The fire shot out twenty feet past the doorstep. Thirty feet. Forty feet.
Ginny watched as maybe another twenty vampires were quickly flamed and turned to dust, while about a dozen dove off to each side of the doorway, and two managed to stay far enough back to avoid the fire. She silently cast an incendio
that swept through the vampires to her left, and she traded hands with her wand just long enough to pull a battleaxe out of her wristband.
The two vampires retreating from the fire never saw her coming. She swept behind them and beheaded both of them in one long broom-assisted swing of the axe.
The fire vanished, and Madame Sarah Bones, head of Bones House, the sole surviving sister of Amelia Bones and Edgar Bones, strode to her doorstep, looking furious. About a dozen surviving vampires and three demons roared at her and attacked. She stood there implacably and began hurling hexes and curses at them.
Ginny flew off to the side, where she would hopefully be out of the line of fire, and started picking off every vampire that managed to dodge one of Madame Bones’ curses. Sarah Bones wasn’t as accurate as Amelia Bones had probably been, so Ginny had to be careful.
Harry came charging in on his Firebolt, with Ron and Hermione behind him. Three sectumsempra
curses beheaded the demons as Ginny used an incendio
to sweep through the last five vampires.
Then Harry landed carefully on the scorched grass in front of the door into Bones Manor. He called out, “Madame Bones! May I approach?”
Ginny thought he was right to be cautious, because just seconds ago Sarah Bones was hurling hexes all over the place, and was probably jittery enough to curse anything that moved.
Sarah Bones flicked her wand upward, and suddenly the entire front lawn was illuminated by a dozen yellow balls of light spread out around the area and hovering thirty feet in the air. Ginny had seen illumination spells like that before. They were usually set in place when the house was charmed, but typically it was only done at great manors like Parkinson Manor.
Madame Bones firmly said, “Mister Potter, I assume? And Miss Granger. Thank you. Susan received your talking patronus only minutes ago. I was rather skeptical, until the wards failed a few seconds later. So I believe you have some Death Eaters out there unaccounted for.”
Harry said, “I believe the lone Death Eater is accounted for. Your retainer is still alive, but in need of a medi-witch.”
Hermione landed beside Harry. She said, “I couldn’t give him a Blood Restoring Potion because he’s passed out.”
Madame Bones looked around and said, “I see you have two Weasleys assisting you, but who is monitoring that Death Eater?”
Harry said, “He’s dead. It’s Antonin Dolohov. He has maybe eight separate vampire bites, and they’re all fresh. And he certainly couldn’t have taken down the wards if he was dead.”
Madame Bones said, “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named must have chosen him for punishment.”
Harry nodded. “He’s failed to stop me a couple times now. Riddle isn’t the most understanding leader.”
Madame Bones raised an eyebrow at Harry’s name for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. “And is there a reason why four – at least four – underage wizards are running around loose raiding vampire nests? Particularly when one of them is wanted for questioning by the Ministry?”
Hermione hurried over and stood with Harry. “Because Riddle is using dark creatures now. This isn’t the only master vampire his Death Eaters have recruited to form an army and attack one of the suspected hideouts of the Order of the Phoenix.
Madame Bones glared, “Are you accusing me of participating in Albus Dumbledore’s technically illegal
organization? Just because my brother Edgar-”
Harry said, “No, we’re not. But that’s not the same as Riddle thinking you’re not.”
Susan Bones and an elderly wizard came to the doorway. Susan asked, “Mum, is it safe? Oh, hi Harry! Hi, Hermione. Thanks for the patronus.” She looked around and waved at Ginny and Ron.
Madame Bones pointed at the elderly wizard. “Dogsbody, please go with Miss Granger immediately, check over Cartswell, and take him to St. Mungo’s.” Hermione took the man by the arm and disapparated.
Harry asked, “What about ‘Master Edward’? One of the vampires had him in thrall.”
Madame Bones sniffed. “As soon as we received the patronus and I realized it was correct, I put Edward to sleep and Dogsbody took him right over to St. Mungo’s. Given that the manor wards had just collapsed, that was not a problem.”
Hermione apparated back to the spot she had stood before. “Is everyone all right?”
Madame Bones said, “Yes. The lawn will have to be tended tomorrow, and the wards will have to be re-built, but the people are all safe. Thanks to you. Even if I should be calling the Aurors to take half of you in, and calling Arthur and Molly on the other half.”
“Are you going to have us taken in?” Hermione asked nervously.
Harry said, “You do realize that would be the same as just killing us yourself, don’t you?”