The Case of the Blown-Up Cottage
Part 13by Cyberwolf (wolf at mydestiny.net)
AN: As befits a chapter numbered unlucky thirteen, this is
not a very happy chapter. Lock isn't acting very Sherlocky, is
he? Hmm...hopefully after one more chapter we can return to the
story proper. Hopefully....
The Rheidyr Room was dedicated to the memory of Saxen Rheidyr,
a famous duelist in the sixteenth century. Since Hogwarts Castle
was so large no one even knew how many rooms it had, the Rheidyr
Room was not really used -- officially, that is. The fact that it
had a complete dueling strip in it made it a popular place for
students looking to illegally settle a grudge.
Lock and Michael were there at precisely 11:35. By previous
arrangement, they’d met at the room itself, and were now quietly
preparing for the duel. Lock lit the torches set at regular
intervals on the walls, while Michael paced the dueling strip,
ascertaining that no enchantments or physical obstacles were on
it. Both boys looked up as the door to the room swung open,
letting in a small group of nervous-looking students.
Michael raised a questioning eyebrow.
"We’re here...to see the duel," said one of them. He was small,
as were the rest of the group, probably only second-years or even
first-years. Michael’s eyes flickered over the group before
resting again on the one who had spoken.
"You’re Will Stanton, aren’t you?"
Will was another one who’d lost someone that Christmas. Michael
turned to Lock, eyes inquisitive. He knew that the other boy
wasn’t fond of crowds, and probably wouldn’t like having
spectators at this duel. He didn’t at his other duels, anyway.
But to his surprise, Lock just shrugged.
Now that he thought about it, how had those kids found out
about the duel, anyway? He didn’t tell anyone, not even his
friends -- and these kids were, from the crests on their robes,
Gryffindors, so it was unlikely that Caradog had leaked it to
them. Besides, he doubted that Lock, if he really didn’t want
spectators there, would have neglected to ensure the privacy of
He looked again at Lock, who was just lighting the last torch.
Lock wanted people to watch this duel. Why?
Michael turned back to the still-waiting group and motioned
with his hands for them to find their own vantage-spots. They
scampered away to stand near the edge of the dueling strip. Other
observers drifted in, members of every House, students in every
year. The large room was soon filled with the rippling sound of
It was midnight, and still Caradog and Robert had not yet come.
The conversations were starting to get a little bit shriller.
Michael shifted impatiently on his feet, silently wondering if
Caradog had backed out. But Lock didn’t seem perturbed. He just
stood there, in the surprisingly complete non-movement that was
one of his traits, and watched the door. He bent his head to
listen to something a blonde-haired girl next to him -- Malfoy,
Michael remembered belatedly -- said. He shook his head, then
returned to watching the door. The Malfoy girl looked surprised,
At that moment, the door slammed open, much louder than anyone
else in the room had opened it, and Caradog strutted in. Robert
Janson followed behind his larger friend, looking a little less
cocky -- but only a little. The conversation around them had
stilled for a moment, then began to rise again. Caradog looked
around him, the set of his shoulders saying he was confident and
the sneer on his face saying he didn’t care that he was late. But
as the crowd parted for him and he and Robert began to climb the
steps on their end of the dueling strip, and Michael followed
behind Lock as they did the same, he saw something in Caradog’s
eyes that said he was lying.
Lock and Caradog began to move forward as the watchers quieted.
They met at the center of the dueling strip, looking -- well,
glaring, in Caradog’s case -- into each others’ faces as they
touched the tips of their wands to their foreheads in the
traditional dueling salute. Both came from wealthy families, so
both were kitted out in proper dueling gear -- dragonhide boots up
to their knees, half-capes in their respective House colors,
protective gloves, and quilted, sleeveless, doublets over their
They lowered their wands, Caradog just a beat after Lock, and
spun around to march to their end of the dueling strip. Lock
shrugged off his half-cape, handing it to Michael, before
settling into his usual stance for dueling.
Immediately, Lock snapped out a spell: "Incendio!" A jet of
dark blue flame erupted from the tip of his wand, igniting
Caradog’s robes. The students nearest Caradog shrieked and backed
away as stray sparks floated near them. For a horrible moment,
Caradog staggered, a human pillar of flame, before managing to
scream an extinguishing spell. As the blue fire winked away,
however, Lock’s next curse hit him, and Caradog began to roll
around on the floor, yelling and scratching frantically.
It continued like this for a long time, Lock sending curses and
hexes while Caradog barely managed to block or dispel them.
Michael noticed that Lock would periodically back off, waiting
while Caradog managed to somewhat recover before doing another
spell. He would just stand there, watching Caradog wrestle with
whatever hex he was currently suffering from, eyes cold.
He was, Michael realized with a chill, toying with
Caradog. The other boy was nowhere near Lock’s league dueling-
wise, and Lock was making sure everyone knew it. It was unusual,
too -- Lock was famous for the quickness of his duels, the way he
could disarm his opponents with one spell. He had the gift of
knowing when his opponents would be off-guard, and striking
accordingly. But, this wasn’t....
Caradog climbed precariously to his feet, swaying as though in
a high wind. He was panting through an open mouth, face flushed
and his eyes filled with hate. He gasped out two spells in quick
succession, but the spells dissipated harmlessly against a shield
Lock had instantly, even contemptuously, conjured.
Lock’s eyes narrowed. "Pathetic," he sneered. He pointed his
wand straight at the larger student. A green glow formed around
his form, coalescing to a bright point at the tip of his wand. It
flew towards Caradog, enveloping him in a sickly green mist, as
Lock cast a spell no one else had ever heard of.
AN: I think I've been watching the dueling scene in HP:
Chamber of Secrets too much....
TO BE CONTINUED
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