Title: Fire and Blood
Author: Saydria Wolfe
Pairing: Harry Potter/Blaise Zabini
Warnings: Child Abuse (Mostly off screen and he gets what’s coming to him), Girl!Harry is Aegon the Conqueror reborn… sort of.
Summary: Harry is 16 years old, at school in France when her name comes out of the Goblet of Fire in England. The “Light Side” in England is just as corrupt as the “Dark Side” unfortunately for both she is more than what she seems and knows it.
Petunia can say, without any fear of racour, that she is having a bad day.
Her husband is out of town, due home any minute. Her sister is dead, she found that out is a damn note. Her niece is orphaned, left on her doorstep like a bottle of milk.
Wrapped in naught but a blanket.
She’s torn. Furious over the treatment she and her family have received. Scared to death of how Vernon will react to what he will no doubt consider an unwelcome burden. And yet, she’s hopeful. Surely he will come through for her, he loves her.
She fingers the key charm that hangs around her neck. Lily never thought much of her Vernon but that didn’t stop her little sister from giving her one last gift.
Petunia can’t help but wonder if this is the moment in which she will use it.
The phone rings and she snatches it up before the noise disturbs the peacefully playing children in the front room. “Dursley residence, this is Petunia.”
“Petunia! Have you seen Number 6’s new car?”
Petunia rolls her eyes. Nosey Mrs. Perkins. Usually her chatter is soothing -Vernon likes it when she has news to report- but not today.
The front door opens before she can get the neighborhood’s worst gossip off the phone and Vernon calls out, “Pet? I’m ho-“
Shite. Shite, shite, shite. Vernon must have found the letter. Why did she leave the letter there? Why didn’t she keep it with her? He should not have learned about today that way!
Vernon makes a sound like a gored bull and, forget the consequences, Petunia hangs up.
By the time she makes it from the kitchen to the sitting room where she left the children, Harry is crumpled against the foot of the couch. Vernon is pulling his leg back for a second kick.
“Vernon!” She can’t believe what she’s seeing. A baby. Vernon kicked a baby!
And he’s about to do it again!
Little Dudders throws up his hands, “No!”
A white light flashes and Vernon flies across the room. He shatters the telly and hits the wall hard enough that he sinks into the plaster and stays.
Petunia runs to her son.
That was magic. That was a lot or magic.
Dudders is fussy as she checks him over but settles down quickly once he’s in her arms. He seems okay.
Cautiously, she turns to Harry. Her sister’s only daughter. Her tiny, tiny daughter.
“Ari?” Dudders asks brightly, looking around. “Da? Ari?”
Petunia carries him over with her to where Harry is laying so terrifyingly still. At the touch of her hand, the girl blinks up at her, still silent. Confusion and pain fill her little sister’s eyes set in her niece’s face.
Petunia looks over at Vernon. He’s still where Dudders sunk him into the wall, frozen and pale. Eyes wide in what Petunia is certain is death.
She can hear sirens in the distance, damn that Nosey Mrs. Perkins.
There’s a passphrase to the key charm, she remembers vaguely. A passcode that leads to the promise of safety and Petunia tries to recall the moment Lily gave it to her.
They were talking about Lily’s favorite book. A work of science fiction. Lily was going on about allegories and themes and- Dune! It was Dune!
Lils would have taken the passcode from that.
There’s a litany thing her sister would recite all the time like a prayer but Petunia was never good at that kind of memorization. Lily would know that. So, really, that leaves just one phrase. And considering the possible double meanings-
Petunia maneuvers Dudders so she can grip the key with a hand while supporting him with that same arm. Then she carefully lays a hand on silent little Harry’s chest.
“The Sleeper has awakened.“
By the time the Police kick down the door, the house is empty. No one is home, except for the dead man still somehow wedged into the wall.
No one warned her that the path to safety involved spinning.
An awful lot of spinning.
So much spinning that Petunia struggles to hold onto her lunch when they finally stop. She barely manages not to set her arse on little Harry either.
“Welcome to Gringotts,” A steady, kind voice offers from off to one side.
Petunia looks up to see a young woman with wide blue eyes and beautiful blonde curls looking down at her.
“My name is Astrid. This is the Noble Liaison Office of Gringotts Bank. Can I help you?” The woman asks.
“Astrid,” Petunia repeats, already knowing she won’t remember. “Please. My sister said. She said if I used the key, I would get help but she’s dead! But I need help! Dudders used magic! Real magic! Threw Vernon into a wall! And Harry! I don’t even- Is she dying?!?”
“You have a key?” The woman asks, already coming around her counter.
Petunia takes her hand off of Harry to show Lily’s charm to the woman.
Astrid takes it and tugs. To Petunia’s eternal surprise, the chain lengthens rather than choking her. Astrid flips the key over and makes it larger.
“House of Potter,” Astrid nods to herself.
Then she looks at Petunia. “Gringotts is at your service, Mrs. Dursley. As a member of the Noble Liaison Office, it is my duty to see you and your family taken care of per our service agreement with the House of Potter. The portkey that brought you here to the Paris Branch is covered by this agreement.
“Now. You said young Harry was injured?”
“Kicked!” Petunia tells her, panic surging. “My husband kicked her!”
The woman practically -or may, actually, because magic- teleports back to her counter and slams her hand on something Petunia can’t see from her spot on the floor.
“The boy?” Astrid asks.
“Dudley,” Petunia forces herself to breathe. This effort is helped tremendously by Astrid’s calm and confident demeanour. “My son, he used a lot of magic. I mean, before we-“
“And your husband?”
“Dudley threw him into a wall! He wasn’t moving.”
Astrid smiles. “I’ll send a team to clean up your home and verify your husband’s fate.” There’s a knock on the door. “That is the healing team. Gringotts only employs the finest healers in the land. We will see your children set to rights.”
The door opens and creatures step through. No, a mixed team. Creatures and people.
“You can’t take them from me,” Petunia says firmly as one of the men pulls a wand and levitates Harry.
“Of course not, Mrs. Dursley,” Astrid agrees, helping her up off the floor. With her hands, not a wand. “Come, I’ll walk you to the Healing Hall where you can stay with your children. The Potter Account Manager will meet you there to review your options. Divorce, assassination, funerary services, relocation, child care support, continued education. Whatever you need. The House of Potter’s agreement with the Bank is expansive and your options are practically unlimited.”
Fifteen Years Later
“And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the champions selection!” Dumbledore announces over the wireless.
Io rolls her eyes at the old codger’s attempt at grandstanding. Maybe it would be impressive if they were actually at Hogwarts right now but she doubts it. The old man is foolish and boring.
If Deputy Headmaster Schuchard hadn’t insisted they stay in the Grand Dining Hall to support their schoolmates in spirit, she would be in the library. Consulting her returning team members on who would best replace their recently graduated Keeper. Like she should be. Without Fleur here to lead them, Io’s quidditch team representing Defense has a solid chance to beat Fleur’s Charms Team and she means to make the most of it.
Tel wants her to pick his friend Javed who is a fantastic Keeper, that’s to be sure, but he’s also deeply invested in winning. Io would rather take someone a little less talented that understands loyalty than the best Keeper in the school that would abandon the team after even a single loss.
“The champion from Beauxbatons is,” Dumbledore announces, trying to grandstand again. “Fleur Delacour.”
Io claps politely with the rest of the school but inside she’s rolling her eyes. Like there was ever any doubt who Beauxbatons’ Champion was going to be.
There’s a whoosh like a Veela’s fireball flying across the room and Dumbledore speaks again.
“The Durmstrang Champion is Viktor Krum!”
And the cheer through the wireless is deafening for just a heartbeat before the device manages to adjust itself.
Io raises both eyebrows. Okay, maybe this Tournament won’t be a complete waste of her time.
Another whoosh. “The Hogwarts Champion is Cedric Diggory!
And Io tunes Dumb-bledore out. She’s just refocused on her parchment trying to juggle existing team members in an agreeable way when the there’s a fourth fireball-like whoosh.
lo looks up with a frown, wondering if something happened to make Fleur lose her shit after she stopped paying attention.
The silence through the Wireless is not helpful.
Then the Headmaster of Hogwarts bellows two words he has absolutely no cause to say, “HARRY POTTER!”
Io sits back in her dining chair in shock. The whole school turns to look at her and she can’t help but stare back, “But that’s not my name!”
“Io,” Her uncle and godfather, one of the school’s Rune Masters, says as he makes for her table.
Io stands to meet him. “Sirius, that’s not my name.”
“We changed it with the adoption, that’s true, but that doesn’t change your birth name,” He says sadly.
“So it’s still binding?” Blaise asks, taking her hand. “She has to participate?”
“No one that I’ve ever heard of has taken the risk of a birth name not binding,” The Deputy Headmaster says as he stops beside Sirius. “We can check with the Bank, they may have records but can you afford to act like its not?”
“I don’t know,” Harry admits. “Can I?”
“If you refuse to participate and the Goblet of Fire finds that you are in fact bound to do so,” Deputy Schuchard hesitates. “It will take your magic. It’s a magical contract secured but a supposedly infallible artefact.”
The infallible part is obviously incorrect but, more importantly-
“Which would kill Blaise?” Her bonded betrothed is a Veela. He would probably lose his magic, if not his mind, should she lose her magic.
“And your father’s Magical House would die,” Sirius adds, looking beyond pained.
Harry’s always kind of thought James Potter was probably the love of Sirius Black’s life. Not that he would ever say, especially not now that he’s married to her Aunt Petunia, but the idea of one more piece of her father being lost looks physically painful to him. Combine that with her possible death and that’s not a torture she could maliciously set on her uncle.
Desperate to say otherwise, Io turns to Blaise, “I have to go.”
“Then I’m going with you,” He says, tightening his grip.
“I’m coming too,” Her cousin and Sirius Black’s other adoptee, Telperion Arcturus Black, seconds immediately.
Io turns to Sirius.
He just raises both eyebrows, “You can’t imagine you’re getting into mischief without proper mischief management.”
“The boys stay here,” She says firmly. “And Aunt Petunia.”
“Agreed,” Sirius nods. “Though it might be time for you to claim your father’s ring.”
The portkey -provided by Gringotts, of course- drops them on the bank of a large lake.
In the distance stands a castle. A great black hulk set proudly against a purple-black sky broken only by flickers of golden candle light through windows spaced regularly across the vast shape.
It’s the first castle Io has ever seen and the sight of it wakes something in her chest. A feeling of fierce victory and hope and longing with a shadow of trepidation that burns like dragon fire within her and she has no idea what to do with it.
Thankfully she doesn’t have to.
“Grandfather!” She grins and scampers up to Lord Arcturus Black. At the last moment she remembers herself and dips into a slight curtsy. “Lord Black.”
Arcturus Black smiles proudly at her, “Lady Potter.” And then he opens his arms and she completes her scramble for a hug.
Tel follows her more sedately. So does Sirius, which is rare and a clear sign of how shaken her Uncle Godfather truly is by recent events.
Arcturus and Blaise exchange arm clasps and nods and he turns to them. “Is this everyone?”
“We weren’t going to bring the entire grade,” Io explains. “Aunt Petunia and the kids would have been hostages for whoever arranged this to make this happen and if we started inviting random students along, someone might use that as an excuse to send Blaise and Tel away.”
Her lord grandfather nods. “Good. Well done, granddaughter”
“How goes the investigation?” Sirius asks.
“What investigation?” Grandfather asks sardonically. “Bagman and Diggory refuse to admit there was a crime committed at all muchless fraud and attempted murder. Bagman actually seems excited by the whole thing. Keeps talking about what a great show the Tournament is going to be.”
“What about canceling?” Io asks. “Surely with the Goblet being obviously faulty they can’t want to continue with the whole thing.”
“If only,” Grandfather takes a deep breath, the most frustration his lifelong habit of discipline will allow him to show. “Karkaroff won’t let us cancel the whole thing. He refuses to consider it and seems to feel that your name coming out of the Goblet is somehow your fault despite the fact that you were in the south of France the entire time.”
“I tried to go to the Board to overrule the Headmasters Council but they won’t consider it because the Ministry is claiming there has been no crime.”
“What about resetting the Goblet?” Tel asks. “Then the Tournament can carry on without Io.”
“Refused,” Arcturus shakes his head, fury evident in the lines of his face. “Diggory’s son is the Hogwarts Champion. I am fairly certain he doesn’t want to risk the Goblet choosing someone other than his only son.
“We’ve formally lodged a complaint with the Horde,” Sirius informed his grandfather. “So the Horde is keeping an eye on the whole thing. Any chance we can get them the Goblet?”
Arcturus shakes his head. “No crime, no investigation. And Goblet cannot physically leave the school for the duration and we’d never get a goblin into the school past Dumbledore.”
Io glares at the castle in helpless fury and Blaise pulls her under his arm, “It’s alright, Io. We’ll figure it out.”
“Yeah, sure,” Io emulates her great grandfather and takes a deep breath to enhance her calm. “What do we have left to do tonight?”
“Get you four into the castle and bedded down.” Arcturus answers. “Everything else can wait for the morning.”
Io nods and points. “Gate’s that way?”
“Oh, we’re not going through the gate,” Lord Arcturus smirks.
Lord Arcturus holds out an arm and steps to one side, grandly revealing a boat. A fucking boat.
Io just looks at him in confusion.
“It’s a tradition,” Blaise explains. “For First Years to ride across the Lake.”
“That’s right, you camr here for your First Year,” Io realizes.
“My Uncle’s husband spoke often of the school and I wanted to know where I would be Sorted.” Blaise nods. “But it was too dangerous for me to attend Hogwarts beyond First Year. A school needs stringent magical protections to deal with a maturing Veela, especially a full Veela such as myself.”
“Where did you Sort?” Lord Arcturus asks.
Sirius sighs heartily but Grandfather comes the closest she has seen to beaming, “The House of Cunning.
“You chose well, my granddaughter.”
Harry rolls her eyes. “Why would I ride the boat? I’m no First Year.”
“No, but it is your first time at Hogwarts,” Sirius counters.
“And at least pretending to give into tradition prevented a large crowd of students from waiting in the Front Hall so that they may stare at you upon your first arrival.” Lord Arcturus informs them. “The boats come into a private dock hidden in the curtain wall and layered with protections. That’s the only reason I took Dumbledore up on his suggestion.”
“Yeah, okay. No crowd is good.” Crowds are definitely not Io’s favorite. “Did you check the boat for curses and stuff?”
“As if I would accept a boat from Dumbledore,” her grandfather scoffs.
“Besides, Hogwarts boats only fit four First Years,” Sirius agrees as he climbs in the boat his grandfather provided. “They wouldn’t stand up to five adults without a great deal of enchantment.”
“You lot really hate Dumbledore,” Blaise observes as Tel follows his dad.
“As far as I’m concerned that old goat tried to murder me as a baby, ” Io admits.
“Considering what you’ve told me about your Aunt’s first husband and his reaction when he first saw you in his house, I can understand that,” Blaise concedes.
“And Dumbledore’s never had the decency to either admit it and start a Blood Feud or apologize and make amends,” Io huffs as the boat surges forward off the bank.
Blaise rolls his eyes but smiles gently at her too, taking the edge off of his reaction.
“We’re also pretty sure he was involved in Sirius’s false imprisonment,” Io continues. “He spent almost six months in Azkaban before we realized he wasn’t in Ministry holding like he was supposed to be. He’d been thrown that stinking hell without even the pretence of a trial. Dumbledore successfully blocked him getting one in Britain by claiming it was already done.
“When documentation of the trial was demanded, it failed to appear and Sirius had to be tried before the ICW before he could be acquitted of crimes he wasn’t even questioned over!”
“How is he still Headmaster?” Blaise goggles.
“None of the evidence of the conspiracy to keep me in jail had him in it,” Sirius explains then frowns. “I said that poorly. The evidence mentioned him by name but there was no physical proof of his or Lucius Malfoy’s involvement. It was all hearsay which isn’t enough for a conviction so they both walked free.”
“Dumbledore did have to pay a fee though,” Io gloats vindictively. “He should still be paying, actually. For the full cost of an ICW trial, since he blocked it at the local level.”
“And he lost most of his positions of power,” Arcturus adds proudly. “The ICW held a vote of no confidence in him which cost him the Supreme Mugwump position and the Wizengamot followed their lead, costing his post as Chief Warlock.
“He only held on to the Headmaster position by his fingertips. Seven votes for, six against. When even one of those six retires we will vote again and he will be gone.”
Io has to hand it to Hogwarts, the school is lovely. Not terribly defensible but that view is breathtaking.
“We’ve been given guest quarters within the castle for the night.” Grandfather explains. “Madame Maxime will rearrange the Beauxbatons carriage to make room for you all tomorrow. She was quite taxed after the last few days and felt that adjusting the expansion charm was an unnecessary danger.
“I picked the guest quarters personally,” Grandfather explains before Io can ask. “I had the elves clean them up and replace the school furniture with that from the Black Collection.”
“Thank you, grandfather.”
“Everyone duck, now.” And moments later they are inside a large, natural cavern. The opening is so low to the water that their boat is nearly too tall for it, making it almost impossible to see from the outside. The cavern’s outer wall has to be at least 10 feet thick.
Perhaps this castle is better for defense than she thought.
Io frowns at herself, what does the defensibility of a Keep matter? No one is going to be raiding the school! She rolls her eyes at herself and accepts Sirius’s hand as her godfather reaches out to pull her up to the stone tiled dock.
Io dreams that she is standing on a spire of glossy black stone. There is a strong black keep at her back and naught but ocean before her as she looks out across the bay at a fine sandy beach that quickly gives way to rolling, green covered hills.
Her hand rests on the neck of a dragon formed of stone. It’s cold but solid. Safe.
It’s the most safety she can remember feeling and she would give almost anything to stay.
Another hand settles on her stone dragon, gripping where it’s snout rests on its belly.
With her eyes, she follows the strong sword hand to a thick cuff of Valyrian steel set with rubies. She continues up the arm to a short sleeve of fine black scale armor then on to a blood red cape held in place by a gold and ruby brooch.
The man is lovely. Tall and strong with finely cropped hair of white gold and purple eyes that her rational mind wants to say isn’t possible.
She remembers those eyes. More, she remembers seeing them in the mirror.
“We’ve had a good life this time around,” Aegon called The Conqueror says without looking at her, almost too softly to be heard over the surf.
Io immediately turns back to inspecting the future site of Aegonfort. “Yes.”
“We’ve learned many things,” He continues but she doesn’t feel the need to respond. “Magic is fascinating. True magic with wands and staves, not the blood rituals of Old Valyria.”
“Dueling is fun, competitively,” His chattiness is amusing to her so she leaves him to continue. “I am surprised to enjoy it. I always hated the Tourneys and Jousts of Westeros.”
“Because you couldn’t sit a horse to save your life,” She smirks.
He snorts but doesn’t disagree. “You’re going to need me if we are to survive this.”
“You still need rest,” She objects, finally looking at him once more.
“Your enemies are more numerous than you suspected.”
She shakes her head stubbornly. “You’re still too weak. Voldemort’s Killing Curse nearly ended you.”
“But I had you and you kept me here,” He counters. “We have always been strongest when we stand together. Two perfect complements born in one body. Two souls, united. It is why we have always been superior.”
“A game,” She hisses. “A joke. The gods’ own experiment.”
“A strength,” He says again, gentle but unyielding. “A gift. One no one else has. One no one can match.”
Io wants to argue. Oh, how she wants to argue! But she’s can’t. She can’t exist without Aegon, not anymore. They learned that the hard way as Rhaegar and Lyanna, bringing their legacy to utter ruin in their haste to reunite.
A rumble and a crash has her whipping around only to see Balerion, smaller and more clumsy than she can honestly remember.
“Come,” Aegon holds out a hand. “One last ride in free skies before we bathe our enemies in Fire and Blood.
“And, of course, deal with this Tournament business.”
Io snickers at his tone even as she takes his hand.
One more ride can’t hurt.
Waking up in what might actually be her own bed from the Black Family Keep in the French Alps does a great deal to improve Io’s mood from the previous night.
Her elf Gemma showing up with a preselected outfit also helps. Io’s never been any good at sending messages with her clothing. Well, unless the message is ‘comfortable’. That she can definitely manage.
If she had to guess her grandfather is having her send a message of disdain and combat readiness while still minding the informality of a lazy Saturday.
“Thank you, Gemma.”
“Lords Blacks be in the Great Hall for breakfast,” The elf tells her around a pleased blush. “Do you be needing me to show you the way?”
“Is Blaise still in the suite?”
“He is, Lady Potter.” She nods eagerly. “Waiting in front room.”
“He should be able to get us there. If not, I’ll call you.”
Gemma bows and pops away.
Blaise and Tel are both waiting for her in the front room and stand when she enters.
Blaise gives her an… interesting look and offers her his arm, and not in the wizarding way, either. He doesn’t offer his hand and hold hers before them, he offers his elbow and escorts her using their linked arms. It’s a courtesy that doesn’t necessarily belong in this time and place but she finds she likes it.
Together the three of them make their way down several sets of stairs and toward the front of the castle, Blaise and Harry arm and arm with Tel a step behind like a guard. When they stop in the doorway of the Hall, it goes quiet almost immediately. Fleur stands, making herself obvious, and Io makes right for her with Tel and Blaise flanking her a step behind.
“Lady Potter,” Fleur greets stiffly.
“Princess Fleur,” She nods.
Fleur laughs and smiles. But not in a nice way, her smile is a little mean.
“Two Beauxbatons girls against the world,” Fleur flips her hair over one shoulder in her best imitation of an airhead.
Io gives her a bloodthirsty smile, “The world won’t stand a chance.”
Fleur grins back and they clasp each other’s forearms. “Come, we’ve saved seats for you.”
Breakfast tries very hard to be a light hearted affair but fails. Whether it’s because of the strange long tables rather than conversation-encouraging round ones or how heavy the fair is compared to the same meal at Beauxbatons, Io honestly can’t tell.
“Shall we return to the Carriage?” Fleur asks when most everyone if finished. “We have much to discuss.”
“I am very sorry, Miss Delacour,” Albus Dumbledore interrupts, not looking sorry at all. “But I’m afraid Harry here is needed for a conversation with the judges.”
“Lady Potter,” Io corrects sharply before anyone else can respond. “You will address me as Lady Potter or not at all, Headmaster Dumbledore. And Fleur is a princess, third in line for the throne of the Veela Empire to be exact. It would serve you well to remember that before you make enemies you can ill afford.”
“Prongslet,” Sirius says with amusement as he steps around Dumbledore and offers her his hand. “Let’s get this done so the lot of you can go explore Hogsmeade.”
He gives Fleur a shallow bow. “Perhaps you should attend as well, your Highness.”
“Of course,” Fleur stands and looks around the room. Two sharp hand gestures later and their party is joined by two young men. “Lady Potter, may I introduce you to the Durmstrang Champion Viktor Krum,” The young man in question clicks his heels together, places a fist over his heart, and bows. “And the Hogwarts Champion Cedric Diggory.” The pretty boy with floppy brown hair just smiles and gives her a nod.
“It’s good to see you looking so well, my lei- lady,” Cedric says with true warmth.
Io looks into his warm blue-gray eyes and wonders how she knows him.
Torrhen, Aegon whispers. The King Who Knelt.
“It’s quite a shock being here,” She tells him. “But it’s good to know that Stark differences haven’t obviously affected me.”
Cedric laughs, a joyous sound, and nods.
She nods back and allows Blaise to escort her from the Hall in Sirius’s wake.Tel escorts Fleur and the last two boys bring up the rear.
They are lead into a dark, ugly room carved of dark green and black marble. The doors and fixtures are all wrought iron and every single horizontal surface -and several vertical ones- are covered with trophies, each gaudier than the last.
Several adults await them in the room.
“Prongslet,” Sirius begins. “You know Madame Maxime, of course. Beside her is High Master Igor Karkaroff of Durmstrang. Beside him from left to right are Professor Severus Snape, Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall, Professor Filius Flitwick, and Professor Pomona Sprout, the Heads of the various Houses of Hogwarts. And Professor Alastor Moody teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts and is in charge of School security.
“From the Ministry we have Amos Diggory, the Head of International Magical Cooperation; Ludo Bagman, the Head of Magical Games and Sports; and Elwin Silverling, the Minister for Magic.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Lady Potter.”
“Minister Silverling,” Io starts before anyone else can. “Why have you not yet had me removed from this competition?”
“The Goblet would not have ejected your name did you not want to compete, Lady Potter.”
Io snorts. “The Goblet does not select champions based on willingness but on ability.”
“Then obviously, you must be more than capable of competing.”
“For a Fourth School that no one knows the name of?” She asks. “Obviously I was the only one entered under whatever the school name was! It doesn’t say much about my ability when the Goblet is forced to choose from a field of one!”
“Of course you’re capable, Harry,” The ugly bastard named Bagman argues. “You’ve been competing in international dueling competitions for three years! This year you competed two brackets ahead of your age! And won!”
“It’s Lady Potter and my occasional pastimes in Moscow have nothing to do with competing against my will in Britain.” She responds cooly. “Any decent wizard would remove me regardless of want or ability because it’s against the rules! Do your own rules mean nothing to you? Are you not concerned that the Goblet of Fire is obviously malfunctioning? You have the magic of three very able students tied up in the device, what if it randomly decides they are in violation of the Tournament and kills them?”
“I’ve examined the Goblet of Fire and nothing is wrong with it,” Moody tells the room.
“Then how did four names come out of the Goblet?” Harry demands.
“A powerful Confundus charm was used to adjust the number of competitive schools after Dumbledore activated it within the school.”
Harry glances to her grandfather lingering on the edge of the conversation. His eyes flick to Dumbledore, all four Heads of House, and then linger on Moody. Apparently the power level needed to do such a thing does not eliminate many suspects.
“I understand why the Death Eaters don’t care about me dying,” She says and half the room gasps. “And as far as I’m concerned Albus Dumbledore has been trying to murder me for years but what about the rest of you? What’s your excuse for being terrible people?”
“Lady Potter,” Madame Maxime steps forward, putter her massive hands on Io’s shoulders. “I understand your frustration, I have protested this foolishness to the Beauxbatons School Board and the ICW. Monsieur Starling himself has agreed to bring no less than two of his fellow representatives to observe the Tournament. Are you willing to give a magical oath that you do not wish to participate?”
“I already have,” Io admits. “I made it before the High Chieftain of the Goblin Horde and the Ark of Truth.”
Madame Maxime’s eyes go wide with shock but Io only nods.
“Should Monsieur Starling and his compatriots wish to witness my oath, I will give Ragnok Stormbreaker my permission for them to witness it but I will not repeat it here. I have no wish for these fools to hear my true name from my own lips.”
“Very well,” Her headmistress nods and steps back. “I will explain this to them when they arrive.”
“Um, excuse me,” Cedric breaks in softly and she turns to focus on him. “What do you mean Headmaster Dumbledore has been trying to kill you for years?”
“He revealed that to my parents which caused them to be Voldemort’s target,” Io pointedly ignores the flinches around to room at her first enemy’s name. “He was also in charge of the security on the home that obviously failed to protect my parents.
“But more than that, what do you think of Parsel Magic and Parsel Mages?”
Cedric shakes his head in confusion. “It’s a sign of corruption. The hallmark of Dark Lords around the globe.”
“And what if I told you that outside of Britain its called the Language of Kings?” She raises an eyebrow. “Every magical monarch that has ever lived speaks it.”
Cedric rocks back on his heels. “That is rather difficult to believe.”
“And yet, it is true,” Madame Maxime asserts.
“My grandmother speaks it,” Fleur seconds. “As does my sister, her heir. I will be undergoing the ritual to awaken mine this summer. Lady Potter was born speaking it and has been training in it for years. She was born a Magical Queen.”
“The Grand Duke of Bulgaria speaks it,” Krum agrees.
“Do you know the most famous Parsel Mage?” Io asks to shocked Hufflepuff.
“Ever heard the name Arthur Pendragon?” Sirius asks casually and the boy can’t hide his shock.
Io nods when the older Champion turns to her. “His birth name was Uther Slytherin, firstborn son of Salazar and husband of Merlin Emrys. And yet for years, here in Britain, Slytherin has been derided as the house of Evil and Darkness. The Language of Kings is called here the language of darkness and a sign of evil, you wonder why?”
“Because the Ministry doesn’t want to have to answer to a monarch. And it only got worse once Dumbledore took the Headmaster position and worse again when he took the Chief Warlock position. Do you think no one has noticed the connection?”
She glances at Dumbledore, standing silent and furious. Restrained by the silent and forbidding presence of Lord Black at his side.
A probe glances over her mental shields and Io snorts. “I suggest you keep your legilimency to yourself, Headmaster.” Then she considers. “Unless you truly want to test the mental defenses of someone you’ve already been told is a Parsel Mage. Actually, I have no problem with you rendering yourself a vegetative, drooling mess on the floor.”
Trying and executing hims for treason would be more satisfying. Aegon argues and gives Io the memory of the weight of a sword in their hands.
That would be satisfying, she agrees silently.
“Fortunately, the magic of the Goblet keeps you safe from me.” She says. “For now.
“You know, I had no intention of claiming my rights over this country. If you wanted to kill yourselves by denying your true heritage, who was I to interfere? Several of you have spent your entire lives dedicated to the idea, you should have the joy of success as all turns to ashes in your mouth. But now you’ve forced my hand.
“I hope you enjoy it.
“Even if this Tournament does kill me, you will not be spared. My heir has been chosen and accepted the duty of it. The day I fall, they will stand in my place. And you will all get exactly what you deserve.”
And without waiting for anyone’s permission, she leaves. She’s already provided them too much warning.
She’s almost to the front doors when she stops at the sight of two girls, lingering. Obviously waiting for her.
One stands before a column, proud and fierce. She looks Naathi, complete with golden brown eyes, but this is no extreme pacifist. Nor is she a follower of the Lord of Harmony.
Visenya, Argon identifies and Io silently agrees.
The other girl she needs no help to identify. A slim pixie of a girl reclining sensually back against a column. The pose is heartbreakingly familiar but the fact that of all of them Rhaenys is the only one to keep her original looks is either the most just of things or the worst truth yet of this new life. Big Valyrian Violet eyes blink at them from a frame of silver-gold hair.
“Sisters,” Io greets, cautiously stepping forward with her hands extended.
“I’m Hermione Granger,” Visenya tells her, taking her left hand in both of hers.
“Luna Lovegood,” Rhaenys smiles, taking Io’s right hand. “We can show you around Hogsmeade? We saved a carriage for you.”
“That would be lovely,” She agrees. She needs out of this fucking castle as soon as humanly possible, damn what the so-called adults want.
Still she pulls away and holds a hand out for Blaise, who takes it. “Miss Granger, Miss Lovegood. This is my bonded betrothed, Blaise Zabini.”
“Mr. Zabini,” Luna nods. “It’s good to see you again.”
“Agreed,” Hermione quirks her lips. “Since you’ve been gone there just hasn’t been the same sort of competition, academically.”
Blaise laughs, “I’m sure Draco tries but Charms and Potions are obviously his specialities.”
“This is my cousin, Telperion Black.”
“Good to meet you, Mr. Black,” Both girls chorus.
“Tel, please,” He offers his arm generally between the two of them and Luna takes it eagerly. “Shall we?”
“Of course,” Hermione turns and leads them out.
This is going to be interesting.
Lucius Malfoy watches with carefully concealed displeasure as a carriage containing four students plus Harry Potter speeds through the center of Hogsmeade to stop in front of the Three Broomsticks.
His son’s friend Blaise Zabini is the first out of the carriage and helps Potter down with excessive care.
He knew the boy was bonded and betrothed a year and a half ago but he thought the lad had had better taste than that. Not that there have been any announcements regarding the lad’s bond but there is no way a full blooded Veela would dote so on anyone other than their bonded.
He looks down at his son to find him gaping in shock. Obviously he wasn’t told either.
“Draco, leave us.”
Draco looks up to him sharply but nods and leaves without saying a word.
“Are you still seeking a betrothal to my son, Miss Parkinson?”
The daughter of his, not friend but colleague, Perennial Parkinson looks up at him with shielded eyes. After a cautious moment, she nods. “I do, Lord Malfoy. I believe such an arrangement would be the most beneficial one our families could make. Unless you would rather your son marry a foreigner.”
A Mudblood. She means a mudblood but is being polite about it.
He pulls an old book from his robe’s inner pocket. “This book contains a task. It is a vital task for our Lord and if you complete it, yours will be the only hand I will accept for my son.”
Assuming she survives. But, minor details.
“T.M. Riddle?” She asks astutely.
“Our Lord’s most prized and trusted,” He passes on what he knew was a lie even the first time he heard it. “I cannot express the importance of both success and secrecy for this mission.”
“I won’t let you down, Lord Malfoy,” She pauses pointedly and gives him a smirk. “Or, should I say, Father.”
Back to EAD 2019.