This story takes place after Book 6 of HP and the season finale of Angel in the Buffyverse. Therefore it'll include characters and whatnot from HP,BTVS and Angel as well as a few OCs. And there will be spoilers for HBP!
It's slightly AU in that, well, I've had to shift the timelines a bit in order to be able to accomodate both universes in the same story. So, in otherwords, the story takes off after the Half Blood Prince, but it will take place in 2004, right after the season finale of Angel. Just thought I should point it out.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except the plot and the prophesyThe Prophecy of the Four
- The Prophecy
In seven days created, in two shall be destroyed,
Three Ancient Ones gather: one forgotten, one found and one restored,
Two worlds meet and warriors must rise,
The Three are joined by a fourth, who alone the tale can tell.
Blindness gives sight; insanity, wisdom
- to see when black is white and white is black.
The Snake is not the king of beasts,
but the Lion cannot win.
"Oh wonderful," the tall brunette mumbled under her breath, "I knew it was too much to ask that my trip to England be for sight-seeing and shopping purposes only."
"Giles!" she yelled. She pushed her chair back from the library table and turned around to face the door to the hall. "Giles!"
"Yes Dawn, what is it?" a male voice called back.
"I think I found another prophesy!"
"Ok, definitely not the welcome I had hoped for," a different male voice joked from the hallway.
Dawn Summers flew from her chair and dashed out of the Watcher's Council's library and into the hall.
"Xander!" she squealed in delight as she threw her arms around the dark-haired man's neck.
"Hey Dawn," the young man chuckled. He put down his suitcases and returned the hug.
"Hello Xander," said Rupert Giles, coming out of his study, "you're early."
"Yeah, we managed to wrap things up early."
"And how are things in Cleveland then?"
"Well, the building's all fixed up, slayers settled in, Hellmouth actin' all hellmouthy and Robin's decorated his office."
"Spending a couple extra days of quality time with Robin before she heads up to the land of Giles."
"Ok, so that was my news. Now what's this about a prophesy?"
Both men looked at Dawn, who turned and ran back into the library. Moments later she was running back with a large tome in her arms. She handed it to Giles, who immediately began to study it. Xander read Dawn's translation over his shoulder.
"Hmmm. . . it's vague, makes no sense and speaks of doom. . . yup, definitely a prophesy," quipped Xander.
Giles shot Xander an annoyed look. Then he handed Dawn the book back.
"Yes, well, it doesn't seem to have any sort of indication as to when it's supposed to take place. . ."
"Come on G-man, since when do we ever find a prophesy that's not supposed to happen soon?" Xander asked.
"Yeah, it's never, like, 'this will take place in a hundred years', it's always next week," Dawn agreed.
"I wonder if the powers have anything to do with it?"
"Wouldn't surprise me."
Giles cleared this throat.
"Well, it seems to mention four Ancient Ones," he said. "Perhaps we should start there."
"But what about this whole snake and lion thing?" asked Dawn, pointing to that line of the prophesy.
"My question exactly," Xander agreed. "I mean, I may be a bit biased against snakes ever since my mayor turned into one and tried to eat me. . . but this last line doesn't sound at all good."
"I seems to indicate a battle of some sorts," Giles said thoughtfully, ignoring Dawn's muttered 'Gee, no kidding!'. "Although, it's hard to tell if it's between the Ancients and the warriors, or if its purely symbolic."
"Lovely," Dawn sighed. "So I guess I should cancel the shopping spree I had planned for tomorrow and get researching, huh?"
"Yes, I'm afraid so Dawn."
"Hey, you don't suppose Illyria is one of those Ancient Ones?"
Dawn and Giles both looked at Xander in surprise. And confusion, in Dawn's case.
"Uhh, who's Illyria?" she asked.
"Some ancient demon god-king, who got resurrected by some insane followers of hers and took over Fred's body."
"Fred? As in Angel's Fred? I didn't know she was dead." Dawn's eyes filled with sadness.
"She is and now Illyria's walkin' around in her body. Quite creepy, actually."
"That's actually a very good suggestion Xander," Giles interrupted gently. "Where is Angel's group now, anyway? I'm afraid Faith's e-mail contained about three lines and wasn't very informative."
"Not much to say really; Faith's dream didn't really give us a whole lot of prep time, but we did get to L.A. in time for the final showdown between Angel, Spike, Illyria, Gunn and an entire demon army. Apart from the whole fighting and death thing, it was actually kinda cool. There was even a dragon. . ."
"Wait, did you just say Spike?" Dawn interrupted him.
Xander looked questioningly at Giles.
"You didn't tell her?"
"Umm, well. . . that is to say. . ."
"Tell me what?!!"
"Spike's alive. Or, well, as alive as he ever was anyway."
Dawn stared at him in shock.
"He-he's alive?" she asked quietly. "How?"
"The amulet Buffy gave him. It somehow got sent to Angel and when Angel opened it, Spike popped out. Apparently he was a ghost for a while until some ex-lawyer from Wolfram & Hart with an axe to grind made him corporeal."
"Why didn't he tell us he was alive?"
"Not sure. Though apparently Andrew knew about it."
"I'm going to kill the geek when I get back to Rome. Where is he now?"
"Somewhere in America."
"Well, after the fight," Xander turned to Giles, "we buried Wes and Gunn and Angel took the next flight out of L.A. to join his wolfy girlfriend. Then Spike said he'd wander around the good ol' U.S. of A. for a while, 'till he came up with a better plan and Illyria decided to join him. Oh, and did you guys know Angel has a son?"
The noise sounded familiar, not pleasant, but familiar. So was the smell. Except that for some reason, it felt wrong: there should've been a breeze, something to indicate they were outside. But beneath her, she could feel a smooth, wooden floor, so she was definitely inside. Her mouth felt incredibly dry, she needed to get some water.
Slowly, she opened her eyes, wincing against the sudden light.
She was looking up at a beautifully ornate ceiling. It was made of a dark wood with snakes carved into it. Something told her she should probably be surprised the snakes were moving and hissing at each other, but she wasn't.
She tried to move, but none of her limbs would listen to her. She tried again with the same results. It was as if her body was frozen stiff, paralysed. Panic erupted in her mind. What if she had been in some accident and had managed to sever her spinal cord? What if she would never walk again? She was as good as a vegetable right now, except that she could hear and see and smell. But then again, she had never been a vegetable before, so maybe comatose people did sometimes think they saw what was going on around them. After all, if she was a vegetable, she'd be in a hospital bed and not in some big, fancy room with moving snakes on the ceiling. Then again, maybe she was dreaming.
She closed her eyes and took several deep breaths to calm herself. Then she opened them again and tried to take in as much of her surroundings as she could. It was in that moment that she realised the noise she was hearing was someone screaming in pain and the smell was sweat and flood. And fear.
A shadow feel over her.
"Well, it's about time you woke up," a husky female voice said. "You almost missed all the fun."
She took her eyes off the ceiling and looked up at the woman. The woman was grinning, while twirling some sort of stick between her fingers. Her clothes were strange, like something from a different time and place: long, black robes. She could've passed for a clergywoman, except that coupled with her long black hair and pale skin, she looked more like a vampire than a priest.
"You're going to die tonight, Muggle, along with the rest of your filthy Muggle friends."
Muggle? She'd heard that word before. But where? She could feel the answer taunting her just beyond her reach, where she couldn't reach it.
Suddenly she felt something wash over her, like a gentle breeze of energy. It dissolved the stiffness in her body and she could finally relax. Experimentally, she brought a hand up in front of her face.
"Lucius," the woman standing over her hissed.
"I do so prefer it when they try to run, don't you?" a very refined male voice asked.
"Seems so much more sporting that way."
"Magic," she whispered to herself.
"I beg your pardon?" the man's amused voice asked.
She looked up into a pair of icy blue eyes. They belonged to a tall, aristocratic-looking man with long, blonde hair tied back in a ponytail.
"The ceiling," she answered him in a slightly hoarse voice, "is charmed to move with magic."
He looked as if he was seriously doubting her sanity. She slowly sat up and got her first glimpse of the room she had woken up in.
It was indeed a large room, probably a ballroom of some sorts. It felt like it belonged to some sort of old manor, or castle. The floors were made of polished oak and the walls were just as ornate as the ceiling, except there were dragons instead of snakes. However, the dragons had jewelled eyes and didn't move. One side of the room had a fireplace with dragons on either side of it painted in green, black and silver colours.
She noticed the room was filled with more people in black robes. They were clearly in charge. Everyone else in the room was dressed in normal, everyday clothes. Most of those were people she recognized; they had been with her in the pub when it was attacked.
It was Tim, the local butcher's, birthday and half the village had shown up to celebrate by getting him completely drunk. She had only been living in the village for a couple of years and normally would never have gone, but his wife personally invited her. So she went, not intending to stay for very long. She had never been one for drinking, as far as she could remember. What came before that, she didn't know.
She remembered the hairs on the back of her neck bristle. She felt something in her mind warning her of something. Then the doors to the pub smashed open and a group of black figures wearing white masks glided into the room. There were screams, crashes and shouting and suddenly everything went blank. Although it was not unusual, she was pretty sure that this time it was because she had been knocked unconscious.
She once again scanned the ballroom. She saw Elizabeth Harker, who taught math at the local school. One of the robed men pointed a stick at her and a yellow beam of light shot out of it and into her chest, encasing her body in what looked like a thin layer of yellowish gelatine. Elizabeth screamed in pain.
Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange watched as the girl sitting in front of them merely cocked her head in curiosity as she watched a woman, whom she obviously knew, being tortured. She didn't seem frightened or horrified, or even sad.
"Well, she's no fun," Bellatrix pouted. "They're supposed to scream."
They had picked up her and a handful of others during a raid on a small, Muggle village in Northern England. The Muggles had been in the middle of some sort of celebration when they attacked. Most of them they killed immediately, but a few were taken back to Malfoy Manor for some after-raid fun.
This particular girl had been knocked unconscious. The fact that she recognized that the ceiling was charmed was somewhat surprising. It was not, however, more shocking than finding out that not even their most powerful magic could bring her to consciousness when she was out cold.
Lucius placed the tip of his cane underneath her chin and turned her head to look up at him.
"What is your name girl?" he demanded.
"Th-they call me Angela," she answered. She had a slightly dazed look on her face.
"They call you that, do they? So it's not your real name then?"
The girl frowned. Lucius watched her closely, the villagers they tortured earlier had told an interesting story about her. It was the only reason he and Bellatrix hadn't already killed her out of boredom.
"It could be. I don't know. I can't remember, so I am called Angela until I do remember."
"I see. . ."
"Do you suppose it's a badly cast memory charm?" Bellatrix asked her brother-in-law.
"Possibly. She does seem to have some sort of magical background, even if she doesn't remember it."
Lucius pointed his wand at the girl. She stared at its tip in curiosity.
Angela saw the yellowish light streak out of the wand and something told her she should move, but the light was too fast. It hit her in the stomach and lit every single one of her nerves on fire.
She screamed. Bellatrix giggle gleefully.
Angela had never realized her body had so many parts and that all of them could hurt so much. All she could think about was how much the pain hurt and how much she wanted it to stop. Her eyes were screwed shut as she grit her teeth against the pain, which only somewhat muffled her screams. Just as she honestly didn't think she could take any more, a bright light flashed behind her eyes.
The pain stopped and Angela relaxed. She was out of breath, and a bit sore, but pain-free.
"Aaw, Lucius, you're no fun!" Bellatrix whined. "That wasn't very long at all!"
"But I didn't. . . " Lucius began with a bewildered expression on his face, wand still pointing at his victim. Bellatrix frowned in confusion.
"You didn't what?"
Suddenly an ear-piercing scream filled the air. Angela's head snapped up. In a room full of screaming and moaning people, it was perhaps odd that this particular scream should attract her attention, but it did. And seconds later, she realized why. This scream was different; there was no pain in it, only sheer terror.
Turning towards the source, she saw it was Rachael, the mayor's secretary. Her eyes were wide as she scrambled backwards despite her obviously broken left arm. Beside her, Angela heard the tall, blonde man chuckle.
Then she caught sight of the same thing Rachael had and, for a moment, she forgot to breathe.
At one point in time, the thing might've been a man. It had the shape of a man, even if it was bald and slightly bent over, with skin so white it might as well have not been there at all. Only the somewhat human-shaped face was evidence that he wasn't a walking skeleton.
But the worst were his eyes. They were hideously red: not even a pretty, bright red, but a dark, menacing crimson. They seemed to glow from within the darkness of his hood. His eye whites were bloodshot, making the irises appear to be spilling out into the rest of the eyes.
He was staring, unblinking, directly at Rachael. A sinister smile appeared on his face, which only served to terrify the girl even more. By now others in the room had noticed the newcomer. However, no one else screamed. They were too petrified with fear to move.
"Well, well, what a pretty little Muggle," the creature said, gliding towards her.
If it was possible, his voice was even more frightening than his appearance. It was scratchy, but surprisingly high-pitched. It sounded like he had tasted death: like a zombie out of a bad horror movie. And as he approached Rachael, Angela was sure the short brunette was wishing this was just a horror movie. Or a nightmare. As long as she could wake up, or walk off the set.
Rachael had managed to back into a wall and looked like she was trying to push it out of the way. When the red-eyed creature came to stand directly in front of her, she froze. It bent down and touched the side of her trembling face with incredibly long, bony fingers.
She looked away, trembling. There were tears rolling down her cheeks. The thing chuckled, a shrill, slightly wheezy noise that made her whimper.
"So beautiful," it said, caressing the side of her face in a sort of mock gentleness. "Your fear is so intoxicating."
A quick flick of its wrist and Rachael cried out in pain, her left hand flying to her face. Seconds later she took her hand away to examine it. There was blood on it from the three gashes that now adorned her cheek. She was so preoccupied with the blood on her hands, she never even noticed the creature take out a thin stick and point it at her.
"Crucio," he whispered.
Rachael arched up and screamed. She continued screaming as her body convulsed and began to spasm. Suddenly, her breathing began to get very erratic and her eyes widened. Her screaming stopped, because she didn't seem capable of drawing a single breath. Her hands grasped at her chest as she gulped for breath, panic evident in her eyes, though her face was still twisted in agony.
Then the convulsing stopped and she wasn't gasping for breath anymore. Her body fell to the ground at the creature's feet, dull green eyes staring in Angela's direction.
"Finite Incantatem," Angela heard the creature whisper.
"Rachael? Oh my God, Rachael, say something!" cried out Dr. Michael Cummings, the town's pediatrician and Rachael's secret lover (secret to anyone who was blind, which, luckily for him, his wife was).
The creature lightly kicked the woman's head.
"Hmm. . . well, this is certainly different. I've never seen that curse kill before."
"You monster!" Michael yelled. "You killed her. . . she was such a sweet, warm woman. . .and you killed her! She had a weak heart. . .it couldn't take the stress. . . " He trailed off as tears welled up in his eyes.
"Silence!" it hissed at him.
Then it walked to where a huddle of robed figures in front of the doorway and began to hiss again. Only this time it was a loud string of hissing noises that almost sounded like a language. Angela didn't understand it, yet she somehow recognized that he was calling for someone. . .or something.
She wasn't kept waiting for long, because moments later a large snake slithered in through the massive doors.
All around her, people gasped at the sight, she heard a few whimpers on her left. In the right corner, someone screamed. She didn't even have to look to know it was Billy, the tall, burly fire chief. Everyone knew he was terrified of snakes.
The snake turned its head to look at him with piercing, yellow eyes. Its forked tongue darted in and out of its mouth, the creature's only movement. Angela stared at it. Its scales glistened in the light, which danced over the brown pattern. Its attention was focused solely on the trembling fire chief. Angela felt a pang of pity for him. It was his greatest fear, come alive.
The snake's master said something in that hissing voice again. Angela idly thought that if snakes had a language, then that was probably what it would sound like. The snake's eyes lit up. Then it lunged.
It stopped only inches in front of Billy's face, its tongue licking his face as it darted out. Billy's harsh, fast breathing echoed throughout the large room. By now the man was pushing himself against the wall so that he was as flat as he could possibly be, considering his significant beer belly. He looked like he was ready to climb the wall with his bare hands out of sheer terror.
The snake slowly opened its jaws, revealing long, sharp fangs. One of the fangs touched Billy's cheek.
It was a high-pitched, hysterical scream and it didn't stop until the monster before him lunged again and swallowed his head to the shoulders.
Voices cried out and out of the corner of her eye, Angela saw someone faint. She didn't bother finding out who it was, however, as hysterical screams filled the room.
Angela looked back to the red-eyed creature. He was observing the panicked humans as his pet slowly devoured its victim. He nodded to the group of robed figures nearest to him.
The figures bowed in response and turned to the screaming townsfolk. They pointed wooden sticks at the crowd and suddenly bright lights shot out like laser beams from the tips of the sticks.
Not even a minute later, the room was deathly silent. Bodies lay haphazardly over the ground; some were dead, some only stunned. Several people were trying to scream, their mouths opening and closing, but no sound came out. Mrs. McInnis, the librarian, was soundlessly sobbing hysterically, while praying desperately to whatever higher being was willing to listen.
"I am delighted you all liked Nagini," the creature chuckled. "I must say she certainly has taken a liking to you."
"Who is that?" Angela asked Lucius and Bellatrix. Bellatrix snapped her head to look at her with an outraged expression, which slowly turned to a smug smirk.
"That is the Dark Lord," she whispered back proudly.
"The Dark Lord?"
It was then that the Dark Lord's eyes scanned the crowd and first noticed Angela standing between two of his favourite followers. He frowned.
"Lucius, Bella," he said, "I assume you have a good explanation as to why you are standing with a Muggle. A barely injured Muggle, I might add."
Angela noticed Lucius stiffen slightly. He glanced quickly at her and frowned. The Dark Lord was right, she was not exhibiting any signs of the Crutatious Curse. However, he knew better than to keep his master waiting, so he turned all his attention back to him.
"Of course we do, my Lord," he answered with a bow. Angela couldn't help but think about how much he looked like an aristocrat standing before a king. Bellatrix did not bother with such formalities.
"My Lord," she began, "we don't believe she is a Muggle."
For the second time that night, Angela wondered what a Muggle was. She gazed at the Dark Lord. The red-eyed man gave them a pointed look.
"So, you're saying she is a Mudblood then?" he asked.
"Um, well, we're not quite sure really. . ." Bellatrix now looked somewhat perplexed. Lucius jumped to her rescue.
"When we brought her here she was unconscious. However, all our attempts to revive her failed."
"Did you use dark magic?"
Lucius obviously found the question insulting, but he carefully made sure to keep all annoyance out of his voice when he answered.
"Of course my Lord. I tried every single spell I could remember."
The Dark Lord's head turned to stare directly at Angela, red eyes boring into hers.
"My Lord, that is not everything," Lucius said after a few moments. He pointed his wand at Angela again and before she realized what he had in mind, a streak of yellow light hit her in the chest.
Her world exploded in pain. Every nerve in her body seemed to be suddenly filled with molten lava. She screamed.
The Dark Lord watched her fall to her knees. Then he turned to his minions with an annoyed look that seemed to ask if there was a point to their little exercise. The screaming stopped. He glanced at the girl to confirm she was no longer under the curse. Sure enough, she was now panting hard and slightly shaking, but wasn't in pain anymore.
"Lucius, I do know how the Crutatious works," he said. "If you're planning to show off your proficiency in it, you should at least leave it on for a while and not remove it so soon."
Lucius, whose wand was still pointed at the Muggle, smirked.
"Finite Incantato," he said. Bellatrix gasped. He turned to the Dark Lord, whose eyes had widened. "I hadn't removed it, milord."
The Dark Lord slowly turned his attention to the girl. She had stopped shaking and her breathing was returning to normal.
"She's already beginning to recover," Bellatrix stated. "I didn't think it was possible to counter the Unforgivables."
"All magic can be countered, Bella," the Dark Lord said quietly.
"But like this?" Lucius asked.
"No, not like this. I must confess I have never heard of anything like this. The Imperius can be countered with a strong mind, but the Crutatious. . . under such pain a living being cannot possibly think."
He took a step towards the girl in question. Angela looked up and saw him approaching her and shrunk away.
"Who are you?" he demanded.
"Angela," she answered nervously. She hated it when people asked her about herself; she had nothing to tell.
"It's not her real name," Lucius added and Angela cringed. "She does not, in fact, remember her true identity."
"She could be anyone," Bellatrix added, a touch of mischief in her voice.
The Dark Lord was now staring at her intently and Angela tried to escape the searing look, but she couldn't. Her eyes were trapped, unable to look away. Suddenly, she felt a tug on her mind and images began flying in front of her mind: memories. They whirled around so fast she couldn't quite make sense of what she was seeing even though she had lived it all.
She remembered waking up on Melinda's living room couch, the doctor arriving, the feeling of amazement and panic as she realized she had no idea where she was, or who she was. Then Melinda's kind face telling her they would call her Angela until she remembered her real name. Angela after the daughter she had lost two months ago to leukemia. The images sped up again: she was at Billy's birthday party and he was dancing on the table, trying to convince his wife to join him. Then she was in the bookshop, listening to the village priest, a sweet little man with the oddest taste in hats, wish her good luck at her new job. The picture spun around and she was in the church basement with a group of women learning self-defence. The tall, Japanese man who taught it was smiling at her, telling her she was a natural. There was a flash of an image of them kissing on the bridge that went over the stream at the edge of town.
More pictures flashed through her head, until they stopped.
There was an old man with a long, gray beard, wearing long, gray robes and a pointy gray hat. In his hand he held a staff. He was standing on some sort of bridge over a large, bottom-less pit. His face was lit up by the gigantic, flaming creature that stood before him. The old man struck his staff on the ground in front of him.
"You shall not pass!" he commanded.
"Yay, Gandalf!" a child's voice suddenly cried. The image shifted as she had evidently turned her head to look at Melissa's 14-year-old nephew, Andy. He was sitting on the edge of his seat, devouring the movie version of his favourite books with his eyes.
She suddenly felt annoyance and irritation wash over her, but couldn't figure out why.
The whirlwind of images began again. This time, it was even more frantic than before and she could barely distinguish one from the other. She strained to slow them down, willed them to become coherent. All of a sudden, everything exploded in a burst of bright colours. The colours were so bright, they were painful. And they kept getting brighter and brighter, until they were searing into her skull. In a flash, they melded together, turning into a bright, burning white.
Then the colour was gone and Angela realized she was kneeling on the ground, her head in her hands, screaming. Her head was pounding and she felt dizzy.
Lucius and Bellatrix ignored her and looked expectantly at the Dark Lord. For a while, their master said nothing as he looked at Angela thoughtfully.
"Interesting," he finally hissed, "she is telling the truth; she honestly cannot remember who she was before the Muggles found her. Yet I cannot find any evidence of a memory charm, or any sort of mind barriers."
"What does that mean, my Lord?" Bellatrix asked with a frown.
"It means, that either the charm cast on her is something entirely different than anything I have ever come across before, or she didn't exist until two years ago."
His most trusted minions stood in silent shock for a few moments.
"Lucius," he finally said, "look up some magic-inhibiting charms. While she doesn't seem capable of any wand magic, I am not taking that for granted."
He pointed his wand at Angela and mumbled something under his breath. A light blue light shot out of his wand and wound itself around her like a snake. Then it flashed and disappeared. Angela looked startled as she felt her body, trying to figure out where the light had gone.
"Oh, I'm afraid it's inside you now," the Dark Lord chuckled. She looked up at him. "It's a tracking charm. Now I will always know where you are. But please don't try to escape; I would so hate to have to hunt you down." He turned to Lucius. "Send her to the kitchens."
"She can serve us tea or something to that effect. She's definitely more pleasant to look at than those disgusting house elves. They're not even fun to torture."
With that, the Dark Lord left.
In another part of England, three dark figures stood inside an old, abandoned warehouse. To anyone else, the building would seem frightening and most would constantly be looking over their shoulders, watching the shadows for monsters.
But the figures didn’t seem bothered by the darkness, or the shadows. Possibly because they made the shadow monsters run in fear the moment they entered.
Dressed in long, black robes that hid their faces within the shade of large hoods, they themselves were barely visible, except for what was illuminated by pale moonlight, which entered the building through a few shattered windows.
“So the decision is final?” the tallest one asked.
“Yes, that is the best course of action,” the figure standing next to him said. He only came to the tallest one’s waist, being little over three feet tall, but his voice was impossibly deep. It resounded through the warehouse, making the shadow monsters tremble. “We will help the Dark Wizard without his knowledge until the time is right. Then we shall make ourselves known.”
“And you’re sure our companion is on her way?”
“She is not on her way yet, but she will be,” the third figure answered. “She is far away, our message will take some time to reach her.”
“So, when shall we three meet again?” the third figure, a skinny and slightly hunched over man with a sliver of a beard hanging out from the darkness of his hood.
“In thunder, darkness or in rain?” the tall one continued.
“When the hurlyburly’s done, when the battle’s lost and –“
“Oh for Hell’s sake!” the short figure snapped. “Will you two quit with the Shakespeare crap!”
His companions chucked. Then with a sudden gust of wind, all three of them were gone.