JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница

"You saw someone else," Petra said. It wasn't a question, but Fredericka nodded anyway, turning her attention to her.

I saw, but I didn't approach. I hid. I knew it was safer that way. Being a ghost has its benefits.Hardly anything can scare you anymore. But some things are worse than death. I hid and I watched.

Petra seemed to understand this. "They went to the castle, didn't they?"

Fredericka nodded, unwilling or unable to say any more.

"That's where we're going," James said, and swallowed past a lump of fear in his throat. "We JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница should keep moving, before it gets dark."

It never gets dark here, Fredericka instructed blandly. Nothing ever changes here at all. Noteven time.

"Come with us, Miss Staples," Lucy suggested. "Maybe we can help you get back to our own world."

Fredericka considered this with obvious longing and then shook her head.I can't go into thecastle, she said.I was afraid to go inside even before… she… arrived. Now I can't even bear to think ofit.

Petra said, "Do you know where the staircase is, Fredericka? The one that leads down to the cave JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница portal?" When the ghost nodded, Petra smiled. "I think you'll be able to get back yourself if you really want to. As long as we are here, the portal is open and it'll take you back to our time and place. Perhaps you can get through and stay there if you try very hard."

Fredericka looked heartbreakingly hopeful.Do you really think so?

"I don't know," Petra answered, but James thought she did. "Either way, it's worth a try. Good luck, Fredericka."

"Good luck," James added, and the others joined in.

Thank you, Fredericka said JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница faintly. Ithink I'm ready to go on now. Into the light, if I can, andwhatever is beyond it. Maybe I'll see you all again on the other side.

"Later rather than sooner," Ralph said quickly, and the ghost smiled her understanding. A moment later, she turned and seemed to fade from view as she drifted across the plateau.

The gathering watched the ghost of Fredericka Staples vanish and then stood in the constantly shushing grass for a long moment, silent and thoughtful. Finally, still wordlessly, James turned back toward the castle. It stood tall and ominous on the near JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница horizon, casting virtually no shadow in the diffuse light of the World Between the Worlds. The others turned around as well and looked up at the stark shape, weighing their own secret thoughts and fears.

Slowly but surely, the six travelers resumed their journey.

24. THROUGH THE CURTAINS

As they neared the castle, the silence seemed to develop its own strange inertia. At first, James merely felt that there was nothing to say. And then, as the minutes passed, he began to feel as if spoken words would somehow spoil the moment—not because the moment was beautiful, of course, for it JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница certainly was not, but because there was a brittleness in the air, a tension that spun out like spider's silk, that James was loath to break. As the gathering finally approached the cliff's edge upon which the black castle stood, James finally realized the truth of why everyone had grown so quiet: they were all afraid that there reallywas someone inside the castle, someone powerful and terrifying, who might hear even the softest whisper and come out to greet them.

When they stood before the massive open gates of the castle, however, speech became JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница necessary.

James rasped, "Do we just go in? Should we… knock, like?"

"We just go in," Petra replied, her own voice hushed. "But keep a sharp eye out."

"Someone's watching," Lucy nearly moaned, peering up at the overhanging balconies.

Petra nodded. "I know. They're waiting for us."

James stepped alongside her as they moved into the shadow of the entryway. "Do you know who it is?"

Petra shook her head and pressed her lips together.

The inside of the castle was almost entirely empty. One enormous room yawned before the travelers, leaping up into shadowy vaults and stretching off toward JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница pillared archways on the far side. The group's footsteps echoed loudly in the darkness, making stealth impossible. The stone floor was covered with decades of blown grit and drifts of dead grass. As the troop crept into the center of the space, moving in a nervous huddle, James caught a hint of movement on the far wall. He peered into the darkness, squinting without his glasses, and made out a large framed shape. It was much larger than a man and filled with shifting shadows: a gently billowing curtain.



"I have a bad feeling about this JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница," Zane muttered, looking in the same direction as James.

Ralph nodded. "There are more of them. All around the room. I see at least a dozen."

"They're escape routes," Petra said in a low voice. "Placed here by those who built the castle for those unfortunate adventurers who might end up marooned here. Each curtain will take the stranded traveler back to the dimension from which they came, although the where and when might be a bit tetchy."

Nervously, Lucy asked, "How do you know these things, Petra?"

Petra shrugged. "I don't know."

"So they're all JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница like mini Nexus Curtains," James said, looking around wonderingly at the gently billowing portals.

Ralph seemed heartened by this news. "Soall of these will take us back to our own world?"

"I'd beware of them," Petra warned. "They're under the influence of she who has taken this castle. They will do what they were made for, but not without her capricious tricks. You may find yourself in the bottom of the Dead Sea, or a hundred feet over a live volcano. Beware of these portals unless there is no other hope."

"Good advice indeed," a woman's voice said JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница brightly. The sound of it echoed all around, rendering it huge and directionless. James startled, as did the rest of the group. All eyes scanned the dark space, seeking the speaker, but no one was evident.

"Who are you?" Petra called out. "And why have you attacked our world?"

"That's not the question youreally want answered," the voice replied, still echoing broadly around the cavernous room. "Here, time may not mean much, but I assure you, in the world from which you come, it is still marching along as always, and there are things we must attend JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница to, you and I. Let us not waste precious minutes on trivialities."

James raised his voice and ventured, "Where's the crimson thread?"

"A better question," the woman's voice answered, smiling, and a thin beam of light came into view, cutting through the heights of the room and alighting on a previously unnoticed scene.

James turned toward it and was surprised at what he saw. A collection of utterly prosaic furniture was laid out in the unmistakable arrangement of a bedroom. There was a narrow bed and side table, a chest, a desk, and a high JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница-backed chair, turned so that it faced away from the travelers.

Petra's hand squeezed James' suddenly, nearly hard enough to hurt.

"The thread is there," the woman's voice echoed in answer.

James squinted toward the light. A small silver jewelry box sat open upon the desk. Visible just inside it was an opal brooch. Spooled around this, glinting in the light, was a length of metallic red thread.

Zane gasped. "The missing thread!"

Petra moaned, "My father's brooch!"

James broke away from the group. Steeling himself, he approached the desk, which stood nearest of all the JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница furnishings. When he reached for the brooch, however, his hand froze. He felt the veins of his fingers go brittle a moment before the flesh crackled white all the way up to his wrist. Tendrils of icy vapor trailed behind as he yanked his hand away and hugged it to his chest, crying out in shock and fear.

"That was unwise," the woman's voice said, smugly amused. "But instructive, I am quite sure. Only she who owns the brooch may approach it."

"Why are you doing this?" Petra demanded, striding toward James and taking his hand into both JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница of her own. After a moment, James cried out again as the feeling returned to it. He flexed his fingers experimentally and then glanced thankfully at Petra.

"I am not doing any of it," the woman answered, and James finally thought he saw her. A figure stood disguised in the shadows beyond the beam of light. Even in the darkness, he recognized the shape of her—the hooded robe, framing that beautiful, arrogant face. It was the woman he had first met in the halls of the Aquapolis back at the beginning of their journey. It was Judith, the Lady JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница of the Lake.

"You are right, James," the woman said, as if reading his thoughts. She stepped forward slightly so that the light reflected up onto her features. "But only a little. I have taken the form of the woman that Merlinus once loved, but I have also adopted a trace of the woman your sorceress friend bargained for. If she looks at me closely, she will see it."

Petra peered past the beam of light toward the woman on the other side. Her face paled. "Mother?" she whispered.

"I am both and I am neither," the woman answered lightly JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница, waving a hand. "I have borrowed from the shape of Merlin's Judith and your own mother, my dear, partly because it amuses me and partly because it was the condition of the bargain."

"The bargain," Petra said, still whispering. "But… I didn't kill Izzy. The dreams I had at the beginning of our journey were wrong. Izzydidn't die in the lake on that night. I called it off. The bargain was never completed."

"You didn't kill Izabella," the woman corrected, "but youdid kill. You sent your stepmother into the lake in your sister's JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница place. By doing so, you only changed theconditions. The bargain itself was fulfilled. Your destiny insisted upon it. Thus, rather than recalling your beloved mother from the afterlife, you got… me. I arose from the lake on the night that you murdered your stepmother. You recalled me from the mists of the netherworld, my dear, in the place of your mother. I wish I could say that I was sorry, but alas, I am not."

"Who are you?" Petra asked again.

"This is still not the question that begs to be asked," the woman replied impatiently, "but if you must JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница know, I am a Fate. There are three of us, although not in the way that you might think. The other two Fates do not know their own identities, and for now that suits me just fine. Mytrue name would be unpronounceable to you, so you may simply call me Judith or the Lady of the Lake. I enjoy both titles."

"Why are you doing this?" This time, it was Lucy who approached. She stood next to James.

"Why?" the woman said, raising her eyebrows in a surprised smile. "Because it ismy destiny. And because I enjoy JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница it. Need there be any other reason?" She laughed. "The truth is, I have been working toward this end for nearly a year by your time—almost since the moment I arose from the lake's surface. It took me some time to find all of you, but once I did, I knew that you would lead me to where I needed to be. I even assisted when it was absolutely necessary. And sure enough, you led me to Alma Aleron and that delightful device known as the Vault of Destinies. The rest was eerily easy."

James felt Zane JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница and Ralph join him now. The group was once again complete.

Petra's voice turned cold as she said, "What is it you want?"

"Still the wrong question," Judith scolded, her smile turning brittle. "Soon I will grow impatient with you. Stop wasting our precious time. We have work to do."

Zane spoke up then, his voice trembling slightly. "Give us back the crimson thread!"

"That is a demand, not a question." Judith sneered slightly, turning her pretty face piggish for a moment. "And I cannot grant your demand at any rate."

Petra made to reach for the brooch, around JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница which was twined the tantalizing thread, but Judith chided her warningly.

"I would not be so bold, dear one," she teased. "The brooch can only be taken by she who owns it."

"ButI own it!" Petra exclaimed. It was nearly a plea.

James took one more step forward, placing himself at the head of the group, his hand still intertwined with Petra's. "Will you," he asked, framing the question with great emphasis, "give us back the crimson thread?"

"That's the question I've been waiting for!" Judith cried out, clapping her hands with glee. "And I have an answer JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница for you, James Sirius Potter, you wonderful, bold young man. The answer is no."

"Why not?" James demanded, barely stopping himself from reaching for the thread-twined brooch again.

"Becausethat isnot the crimson thread!" Judith exclaimed, delightedly. "And because thereal crimson thread does notwish to go back!"

As Judith spoke, James perceived movement inside the beam of the light. He turned toward it and saw that there was someone else in the castle with them, someone who'd been there the entire time, seated on the high-backed chair, turned away from them. A pale hand moved on JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница the arm of the chair, gripping it as the figure stood, arose to her full height, and turned around.

"You wonderful fools," Judith breathed triumphantly, gazing at the young woman who now stood in the beam of light. "You failed to understand the true meaning of the Loom. That length of thread you see wrapped around the brooch is only a symbol.She is thetrue Crimson Thread, drawn through the Vault of Destinies from her own dimension, just as the symbolic thread itself was plucked from the Loom. As long as the symbolic thread stays here with JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница us,so… does… SHE."

James was speechless. He stared into the beam of light, unable to take his eyes from the young woman standing there, smiling weakly. Her hair was long and dark, framing a face he knew very well except for the eyes. There, he saw only a hollow deadness, lurking just under a pall of misery. Except for the eyes, the young woman standing inside the light, at home in that odd bedroom assembly, was Petra herself.

"Izzy," the other Petra said, her voice cracking into tears. "I'm so sorry I killed you."

"It wasyou I dreamed of JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница," Petra said, staring at her sudden twin. "Not me. Inyour world, you were too late. You killed her."

The other Petra nodded slowly, not taking her eyes from the Izzy that stood just outside the light.

"So that'syour brooch," James said, nodding toward the jewelry box. "You never went on the ocean journey with us, so you never lost it."

"This is not the Petra you know, James," Judith replied, finally moving into the light. "In her world, she never came to your home seeking refuge. Instead, she gave herself over to the destiny that claimed JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница her on the night she killed her sister. She has abandoned good and forsaken love. She has nothing left, which is why she was so willing to join me. And after all, why wouldn't she? I am her mother. She paid for me. She paid very dearly."

The other Petra responded to this by leaning her cheek onto Judith's shoulder.

"Petra," James called out sharply, speaking to the young woman in the light. "That isn't really your mother! Haven't you been listening? She's some evil beast from the netherworld, bent on creating chaos! Petra, she's JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница not even really human!"

"Don't call me that name anymore, James," the young woman in the light said sadly. "Petra is no more. Now there's just me, Morgan."

Judith nodded slowly and smiled. "My 'daughter' and I have been very busy ever since I drew her into your world. You see, the rules of the Nexus Curtain do not apply to either of us. She is not of your dimension and I am not human. We may pass through as we wish, although doing so does have its consequences. Dimensions don't respond well to two JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница of one person occupying them at the same time. Whenever my Morgan passed into your world, your Petra fell asleep. In truth, I suspect she even faded from your world, and slept here, on this very bed, trading places with Morgan. I suppose theycould exist at the same time in the same world—for a time, at least—but it would not be without its own strange consequences. The fabric of existence would reject such a duality, and would strive to annihilate one of the dimensional twins, all in the name of balance. But this is neither here nor there. The JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница fact is, we have passed through into your reality, on several, important occasions. We have, in fact, had quite the busy little lives in your world."

James suddenly thought he understood. He narrowed his eyes angrily. "You!" he exclaimed, pointing. "You killed the leader of the W.U.L.F. and took over!You're their new leader!"

"Oh my, no," Judith laughed again, delightedly. "No, no, no, you silly boy.I'm not the leader of the W.U.L.F." She gestured affectionately toward Morgan. "She is. She killed Edgar Tarrantus. Frankly, she was doing the JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница man a favor. He'd grown so verypolitical in his old age that he was very nearly a joke. More importantly, she killed the Muggle politician. They'd had other plans for him, of course, but Morgan here can be quite persuasive. In death, Senator Filmore will serve a much greater purpose. And besides, American politicians are, as they say, a dime a dozen." She laughed as if she'd made a small joke at a party.

"Why couldn't you just stay in your own dimension?" Lucy called out suddenly to Morgan, her face pale but stern. "I JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница'm sorry that you bollixed it all up and killed your own version of Izzy, but why do you want to go spreading your misery around to somebody else's dimension?"

"Why, that's simple," Morgan said, raising her cheek from Judith's shoulder. She shook her head, as if amazed that the answer wasn't completely obvious. "Because in your world, Izzy is still alive. Mother told me so. Here, I can get herback."

And then, with horrible suddenness, Morgan made a beckoning motion with her right hand. Izzy jerked away from Petra and flew into JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница the light. Morgan caught her and instantly drew a hand down over the younger girl's face, putting her into a deep sleep. Izzy slumped.

"I'm sorry, Iz," Morgan said, nearly sobbing with relief. "I won't ever let you go this time. This time, I'll keep you safe."

Petra was rushing forward into the light, but she was completely unprepared for the bolt that struck her, emanating from Morgan's outstretched hand. Petra flew backwards, bowling into James, Zane, and Ralph, who toppled behind her.

"Stop this!" Lucy cried, running forward with her wand in her hand, pointing JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница wildly ahead of her. She had nearly made it to Izzy, was reaching for the younger girl's limp hand, when Judith acted.

James saw it, but was helpless to stop it. He opened his mouth to cry out, but it happened even before he'd drawn the breath to scream.

"Die, little one," Judith laughed, and flicked a finger at Lucy, as if she was merely a fly. A bolt of green exploded against Lucy's side. Her head jolted sideways as her body flew into the air, turning almost gracefully. Lucy flew out of the light, dead in JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница midair. Her wand fell from her hand and clattered to the rug, making no noise. There was a rolling thump as the girl herself dropped onto the shadowy stone floor fifteen feet away.

There was a pause of completely shocked horror. For one long, terrible moment, James refused to believe what he had just seen. Then, with perfect finality, the reality of it fell upon him and he cried out, using the very breath that he had drawn to warn his now dead cousin.

"NOOO!" he shrieked, screaming the word so long and loud that sweat sprang out on JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница his brow and his vision doubled. He saw Judith laughing at his horror, saw Morgan clutch Izzy even closer to her, ignoring the dead girl on the floor nearby. Zane and Ralph were clambering to their feet, moving as if in a daze. Between them, Petra seemed too stunned to speak. Her eyes were so round, her expression so utterly transfixed with shock and rage, that she looked as if she couldn't even move.

And then, as Morgan and Judith carried Izzy toward one of the waiting curtains, Petradid move. She pushed her way through the makeshift JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница bedroom, shoving furniture aside almost without touching it, chasing after the departing women.

"Wait!" James cried out desperately, grabbing at Petra's arm. "What about Lucy? We can't just leave her here!"

Petra seemed not to hear. Across the vast room, Morgan and Judith passed through one of the billowing portal curtains and vanished. Petra began to run. Her dress streamed out behind her and coldness beat from her in waves.

"Petra!" James shouted, turning his plea into a hoarse demand. "Wecan't just leave Lucy!"

He caught up to Petra, clutching her arm so hard JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница that she finally stopped and spun around. When she turned her gaze upon James, he stumbled backwards. Her eyes were horrible—flashing like diamonds in a winter sun, yet dark as tombs. She blinked and seemed to recognize him, although her expression didn't soften.

"I'm sorry, James," she said. "There's nothing I can do for Lucy. She's dead. But Izzy is still alive and she needs me. I can't stay here."

James buried his face in his hands, overcome with helpless misery. He glanced back and saw Zane and Ralph kneeling over Lucy's body JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница, lifting her hands as if to help her up. They didn't understand yet, or were simply refusing to believe it.

"But she killed Lucy!" James exclaimed, crying out with such affronted wretchedness that his voice splintered.

"Then they should pay for it," Petra said, and her voice rang in the high chamber of the room, building on its echoes until it sounded like a chorus. James looked back again and saw Zane and Ralph crossing the floor to join them. Lucy's body hung limp in Ralph's arms and Ralph, James saw with real surprise, was crying. Tears streamed JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница down the big boy's face, making shining tracks on his cheeks.

"We did everything we could, James," he said pleadingly. "But we ran out of ideas! Even my wand won't do anything! And I tried! I really did!"

James found himself nodding at his friend. "I know, Ralph," he said, and tears filled his own eyes, tears of mingled misery and rage. "I believe you."

"Let's go get those two witches," Zane seethed in a low, fierce voice. His face had gone as pale as a gravestone.

"Neither of them are witches," Petra JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница said, turning back to the wafting fabric of the portal curtain. "But that won't help them when I find them."

With a shuddering breath, James moved alongside Petra and gripped her hand once more. It was so cold that it almost stung. Together, with Ralph in the rear, still carrying Lucy's body, the four strode toward the curtain and vanished into its sweeping folds.

When the curtain swept back from them, James blinked into darkness. Noises rang out all around—scufflings and shouts, the whoosh and crackle of spells, all forming the unmistakable clamor of a magical fight. A streak JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница of green lit the space and James saw a man nearby, dueling a wildly grinning witch.

"Where are we?" Ralph called, his voice frightened.

"The Department of Mysteries," Petra replied grimly, striding forward. "But not in our time. Don't touch anything. Don't even raise your wands. This is not our destination. It's only a trick."

James matched Petra's stride, but couldn't avoid looking around. What he saw sent a chill deep into his heart. The dueling man was his father's godfather and one of James' namesakes: Sirius Black. His black JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница hair clung to his face in sweaty tangles as he manipulated his wand.

"Give it up, Bellatrix," Sirius grunted, jabbing forth with a Disarming Spell. "You've always been far better with your tongue than your wand."

The wild-eyed woman cackled eagerly, deflecting the spell and parrying with another green curse.

"We are not real to them," Petra called out, walking directly between Sirius and Bellatrix as they battled. "Unless we stop and take possession of this reality, it will not recognize us. Don't interfere! There is another curtain straight ahead.That is where the Lady of JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница the Lake and Morgan have gone. We must keep on."

James looked and saw what Petra meant. Straight ahead of them, no more than fifteen paces away, was another Nexus Curtain, identical to the one through which they had already passed. Petra strode toward it purposefully and James matched her stride for stride.

"James!" Zane exclaimed, grabbing at his friend's shoulder and pointing. "Look over there! Is that…?"

James knew the story of where they were. He knew what the battle was about and what was about to happen. Sirius Black was going to be killed, sent through the JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница veil that wafted even now behind him—the veil through which, ironically, James and his companions had just come. And yet, ashe looked toward where Zane was pointing, James was stunned almost to a standstill.

His father moved at the perimeter of the battle, engaged in his own struggle. His glasses were crooked on his face; the famous scar marked his forehead. He appeared to be almost exactly the same age as James himself.

"We could stop it," he said, reaching out to grasp Petra's arm. "We could stay here and stop it all. We could save Sirius and JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница stop all the terrible things that happened afterward!"

"James," Petra said, pausing only for a moment, "you've been here before. It's the bargain of the Gatekeeper all over again. We can't change what's been done, no matter how much we might want to. History will find a way to happen, no matter what. Our destiny is elsewhere. Come."

Reluctantly, James agreed. The troop moved through the battle, unscathed and unseen, and stepped into the soft folds of the second portal. As he went, however, James couldn't help looking back. Sirius was taunting Bellatrix for JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница her failure to strike him and she was raising her wand, her teeth bared in fury and black glee. And then, thankfully, the fabric of the curtain swooped around James and he felt that reality drop away behind him.

This time, when the curtain passed over the travelers, they moved into the noise and heat of an even larger battle. James recognized their surroundings immediately: it was Hogwarts, although not quite as he knew it. Witches and wizards crowded the hall, engaged in outright war. In the near distance, James saw Bellatrix Lestrange again, only this time she was dueling JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница his own grandmother, Molly Weasley, her face nearly unrecognizable with grim ferocity. More faces became visible in the fracas: his long dead Uncle Fred, whom he knew only from pictures; Ted Lupin's mother, Tonks; evena much younger version of Oliver Wood, fiercely battling alongside Horace Slughorn. The floor vibrated beneath James' feet and enormous legs moved beyond the windows—a giant was just outside, its club rising to deliver a blow to the decimated castle. A snarling shape leaped over the crowd in a blur, landing directly beside James and flashing its bloody teeth. With a JAMESPOTTER AND THEVAULTOFDESTINIES 49 страница jolt of terror, James realized that it was the infamous Fenrir Greyback, the werewolf.

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