The sound of frantic footsteps, almost a dozen pairs, followed Cassidy as she raced up the spiral staircase, climbing higher and higher into an area that she was unfamiliar with. Her breath came in pants and she clutched her precious wand tight in her fist. She could feel the pressure of the anti-apparition wards and knew that it would be no use to even attempt to do so.
As her heartbeat sped up and her pursuers neared, she took comfort in the knowledge that her mission was a success... that the Fletkins were now far from Malfoy Manner and beyond the grasp of the Death Eaters. Within the next twenty minutes, they would reach the portkey that she hid for them and it would wise them straight to the Order headquarters. The husband and wife would be reunited with their 6 year old daughter and they would be able to tell Dumbledore who in the Ministry Voldemort already had under his thumb.
The information was invaluable, but the risk of breaking someone out of Malfoy Manner was far too great for a large scale Order operation. And thus, Cassidy volunteered, making an offer the Dumbledore couldn't refuse. Now however, it seemed that his hesitancies around the mission were right as they so often were.
If Cassidy was being completely honest with herself however, she would likely admit that she very well knew that this was the most likely outcome, perhaps the best one that she would hope for. She succeeded in the mission and that was what matters... her own life would end and it would help Dumbledore, the Order, and Harry. They would defeat Voldemort and her tiny, insignificant life would be a part of that.
"Give it up child," a voice, smooth as silk with all the aristocracy of Pureblood breeding hissed from below her. It was the master of the house projecting his voice through his manor. It must have been a crew of his underlings pursuing her.
Above her, she saw a wooden trap door and raised her wand without a second thought,
"Alohamora," she triumphantly watched the door swing open. Leaping upwards and grasping at the sides of the trapdoor, she pulled herself upwards and slammed the wood shut. "Duro, Protego." She quickly turned the door to stone and layered on a protection spell, hoping to buy a little time.
She looked up and saw that it was no use. Grey stone surrounded her on all sides save a small window slit. She franticly felt along the cold wall and found no chink, no break in the magic. She was utterly trapped.
Below her, she heard the death eaters reaching the door, throwing curses and hexes against it, the stone door rattled and shook.
There was nowhere to go.
Taking a deep breath, Cassidy found herself calmer than she thought that she would be. She knew that she was to die soon. The thought was a scary one, but death meant rest. It meant that she would no longer have to sneak out of classes to attend covert meetings, she would no longer have to watch her back for hexes thrown out of nowhere, it meant that she would no longer live her life in fear of a Dark Lord destroying the world that her parents died to protect.
Ever since that night when she hid in a closet as ordered by her parents, watching as the crew of vile Death Eaters in their ghastly masks used crucio on her parents over and over again, trying to wring the secrets of how to get into Hogwarts from them, ever since that night where she watched her parents die and their bodies turned to burning ash, not even leaving her with a chance to bury them, she knew that this is how it would end. She knew that she would die with a wand in her hand, fighting the beings who killed her family, attempting to bring some semblance of peace back to the land.
She took another deep breath. The rattling was becoming louder and the Death Eaters were growing impatient. Cassidy weigher her options quickly in her head; if they got thought that door, then she would be captured and tortured. She was a member of the Order of the Phoenix and she knew far too much. She liked to think that she was strong, that she could resist the torture until the Order was able to stage another rescue mission. But, she knew that that was unlikely. Everyone broke under crucio, they broke and told, they broke and went mad, or they broke and died. No matter what though, they broke.
Her other option was simple.
It was sad, but it was necessary.
For the greater good, as Dumbledore said when he sent her out.
For the greater good, as she said in part of her pledge when joining the order.
For the greater good, as her parents said that night when they made her swear upon her magic that she would remain hidden in the closet, under the shielding of dozens of protective spells.
Now, it was for the greater good that she would die.
Taking one last, long look at the moon from the tiny window in the turret where she stood, she watched as the grey clouds parted as if offering her her last chance to see the sky. It was the sky where she felt most free upon the back of a thestral or hypogriff, and it was like the sky was saying goodbye.
She held up her wand, her beloved companion that she had been inseparable from since the age of eleven. The wood was warm in her hands and seemed to hum with power and grief. She was ready.
Pointing her wand at the floor directly below her feed, directly above where the Death Eaters pounded, she closed her eyes and felt every fiber of magic in her. She reached deep within herself and pulled each ounce of magic flowing through her veins, any scraps of power that she held... she called on all of it. Pushing as much of it as she could into her wand she cried out a spell with more power than any spell she ever cast in her life.
"Confringo Maxima!" she cried.
The floor below her exploded, blasting apart into a ball of fire. Stone and steel flew in every direction, the entire top of the turret was blown to cannon fodder as the spell did its work.
All twelve Death Eaters that pursued Cassidy were destroyed, blow to bits so small, the Malfoy's would be finding hints of their flesh fertilizing their grounds for generations to come. And Cassidy, well her body was lost to the breeze, turned to ash by being the epicenter of the spell. Her ashes floated across the sky, rising up to join the clouds of the coming storm.
The Order of the Phoenix would mourn.
She was another martyr.