Memoria Luxareo @tootytots1
Almost

Hermione opened up the book slowly, letting out a breath she hadn't known she'd been holding.

"It's the..the authors note," Hermione whispered, unsure of why she felt the need to tell Draco.

"What's it say?" He asked, leaning forward slightly. Hermione made herself comfortable on the floor, leaning against a bookshelf, legs stretched out before her. She cleared her throat gently and began to read.

"It's with a heavy heart that I collate my findings and publish them here. The mystery of Commander Edward James is one that has taken me on many adventures that I hardly dreamed possible.

I have long pondered the massacre of Highwall End, where a small contingency of 50 men were found; their bodies in various stages of rot and decay, and as legends dictate, bearing wounds that no earthly being could inflict. Given the penchant for fanciful writing at the time and the ever-increasing belief in witchcraft and the dark arts, I am inclined to believe that, perhaps the wounds were not so unearthly.

One mystery however has, I must admit, kept me awake at night; the case of the missing Commander. Of all the bodies listed, all of the men were accounted for, bar one: that of Commander Edward James. There have been several theories as to way over the years; one of these being as simple as his body having never been recovered, others that the unearthly being had taken the Commander with him to hell, and even that he simply abandoned his post, and ran to be with the woman he loved. Others believe that his body was found, simply never identified.

My research has lead me to believe that the body of Commander Edward James was never found. In all writings of the time, he is a popular figure, having waged war quite successfully on numerous occasions. The Battle of Black Lake being the most famous. The Commander was deemed a more than capable leader, fearless and unmatched on the battlefield. So how did such a well-known figure simply disappear?

I have worked my way through a vast amount of records, travelled the entirety of England, collecting what evidence I could find on the man. Now I present this book, wherein I aim; to bring the name, Commander Edward James to life, debunk several theories that have circulated with annoying popularity, and lastly present my own theory of what transpired that fateful night at Highwall End.

I cannot explain the years lost to finding a man that died hundreds of years ago, only that every man finds a mystery he cannot solve but sinks his life into it regardless. Highwall End and Commander James are my mysteries and I hope that this book has done, both the event and the man, some semblance of justice, and brought to light all that which was cast in shadow.

Enjoy

Charles W Knight"

Both Draco and Hermione remained silent after she finished reading, the sound of children's laughter filtering in from outside, feeling strangely light in the heaviness of the air.

"Massacre, what massacre?" Draco asked finally. His head tipped back against some books, turning slightly to look at young witch shrugged.

"I don't know. Perhaps we haven't seen it yet." Hermione closed the book, climbing to her feet and glancing around the room. "How did you find this?" She muttered, holding the book towards him. Draco looked down at the book then back up at the Gryffindor.

"It was glowing." He shrugged his shoulders as if it were no big deal.

"What?"

"I looked along the shelf, and that was...was glowing." Hermione squeaked as he said it, rushing forward and dragging the confused Slytherin to his feet. "Woah, what..what now, Granger?" Hermione ignored him, pushing forward into the centre of the room.

"Look around." She commanded, glancing around at the books suspiciously. Draco sighed, doing as she asked, though rather begrudgingly.

"I'm looking." He said, dryly.

"Annnnnd?" Hermione asked, smiling hopefully.

"And what, Granger?"

"Annd do you see anything? Is there anything glowing?" Draco turned to Hermione, raising his eyebrow.

"You cannot be serious, Granger, that was...well, I don't know what that was, but I highly doubt it's going to happen again. Books don't just go around glowing."

"You don't know that."

"On the contrary, Granger, that's something that I know with absolute certainty." Hermione rolled her eyes.

"Still, it's worth a try, now…" Hermione grabbed the Slytherins arms and turned him back around, "Stop complaining and look."

"Fine,' Draco sighed, "but I don't think this is going to work."

"Less talking, more looking." Hermione singsonged.

Draco began wandering between the shelves, halfheartedly glancing at the spines of books that in no way glowed. It wasn't that he didn't want to look, it was more to do with the fact that he didn't want her to be disappointed when all the looking in the world turned out to be fruitless. The wonder and happiness that had shone so brightly in her eyes at the finding of the book was a rare thing for him to see, and he didn't want to ruin it.

He ran his fingers along the shelf in front of him, watching the thick layers of dust gather, and fall to the floor in great grey flakes. As he lifted his hand, to dislodge yet more of the many years worth of dust, something glimmered in his peripheral. Sucking in a breath he slowly turned, glancing down at a small pile, leaning rather precariously against the side of the shelf. Many of the books were in various stages of disrepair, pages hanging out at odd angles, spines only just managing to hang on. In amongst the wounded was a single book with no cover; it's binding on display, its delicate pages more dog-eared and weathered than most, and in the dimness of the attic room, it glowed.

Draco stared at it for some time, hardly believing what he was seeing. Hermione Granger was right again. He almost rolled his eyes at his own stupidity. Of course, she was right, Hermione Granger was always right, that was what made her so unbelievably infuriating, and annoyingly intelligent. Slowly he knelt down, easing the worn book from the pile delicately, trying not to dislodge any pages.

Tharin Morax: Witch Trials and Executions. The writing was in bold black ink, a medieval drawing of a woman hanging naked from a rope decorating the paper beneath it. Draco gulped, bile rising in his throat as he remembered Sonyea; her bruised and mutilated body, the creak of wood as the rope had swayed in the breeze. He ripped his gaze from the picture, turning to Hermione, reminding himself where he was.

"Granger." He stated, holding the book out to the Gryffindor as she turned to look at him. "Look at this."

Hermione stepped forward, taking the book gently from Draco's hands, holding it before her with wonder.

"Was it glowing?" She asked, gently opening the book onto the first page. Draco nodded, shaking his head in mild amusement as Hermione shot him an I-told-you-so-look, then glanced back down at the book.

As Hermione turned another page, she sucked in a breath, her hands shaking so badly that she nearly dropped the book. She held it out to him, gesturing that he should look. Notice of execution was stamped across the top of the page, then beneath several names were listed. Draco looked up at Hermione, his forehead furrowed in confusion.

"It's the notice of execution,' she said softly, sadness creeping into her voice, "the one that Mina had." Draco's eyes widened in realisation, he glanced down the names and felt the hurt all over again as he saw Sonyea's.

"You know what this means?" Hermione breathed, tapping her finger gently against the page.

"What?" Draco asked, not looking up.

"It means they're real, all of it. All the memories, everything. It's all true."

"Well, we knew that." He scoffed, crossing his arms.

"But here's proof. Actual, real tangible, proof." Draco took the book out of Hermione's hands, flicking through it absent-mindedly, his gut clenching uncomfortably at the pictures that reminded him all too readily of the atrocities he had seen whilst experiencing Edwards life.

"I think you're forgetting the wand we found, the ring, the book, oh and I don't know the big stone carving that leads to a persistent bo…" Draco trailed off when he spotted something in the book, drawing it closer to his face as he read. "What the…" He started, as he brought it even closer, unable to believe what his eyes were telling him.

'What?" Hermione asked, standing on her tiptoes, trying desperately to get a look. "What is it?"

"It can't be." Draco shook his head.

"What? What can't be?"

Hesitantly, Draco handed the book to Hermione, letting her look at the page for a while before speaking.

"Arden, he was working with Tharin."

"That's not possible, they went to war, they...they hated one another." Hermione spluttered, not really believing her own argument as she stared at the evidence before her. The chapter stated that documents were retrieved from Tharin's private collection, and beneath were photocopies of the rather delicate paperwork.

Of particular note are the numerous missives, sent between Lord Tharin Morax and Lord Arden Masarvas during the time of Lord Morax's famous witch hunts. In many of the letters, Lord Arden details the whereabouts of several practitioners of the Dark Arts. Many of these individuals were later executed.

Hermione's bottom lip shook as she read one of the letters, feeling anger boil in her stomach. It explained in great detail that a witch was hiding in the cave system, halfway up Demon's tooth. The author had annotated the letter, believing the information to be false, as Demon's tooth was notoriously treacherous, and living up there would have been ultimately impossible. But Hermione knew better, she could see Sonyea sitting near her small fire, making a pot of tea as she waited for Mina to return.

"He knew." Hermione's voice wobbled as she said it, her eyes shimmering with unshed tears as she looked up at Draco. "He knew where Sonyea was hiding, and he….and he told Tharin." Draco watched Hermione with a heavy heart, he'd hoped the information would have made her happy, but instead she was close to tears. He took the book from her and placed it back on its pile, and Hermione instantly began pacing, her small hands balling into fists.

"Can you believe the nerve of him, his own people?" She screeched, shaking her head. Any tears that had fallen from her eyes she brushed away angrily. "He would give up his fellow witches and wizards, for what?" Draco shrugged, suppressing a smile at the sight before him. He knew that girls had mood swings; Merlin, Pansy was more unpredictable and volatile than a Blast-Ended Skrewt, but watching Hermione swing from upset, straight to full-blown angry, was both interesting and unnerving.

Hermione stopped pacing looking up at him, her eyes slightly red, her nostrils flaring, and a huge black smudge on her cheek. Draco couldn't help the laughter that burst out of him at the sight.

"What's so funny?" Hermione asked, defensively, thinking it was just like the first class prat, to laugh at her being genuinely upset.

"You've got a bit of…" He gestured to his own cheek, tapping his finger against it, as realisation dawned on Hermione's face, and she fumbled to wipe her cheek, blushing profusely. "Left a bit, now down, no down a bit more." Draco chuckled slightly as she followed his instructions, but only managed to spread it across her cheek. "No, Granger, you're just making it worse." Sighing he pulled her hand down, licking his thumb and wiping the offending stain.

Midway through he realised exactly what he was doing, and how dangerously close they were standing. He chanced a glance at Hermione, gulping heavily when he noticed she was staring up at him, her eyes wide, and her lips slightly parted. The mark had gone, but he brushed her cheek one last time with the pad of his thumb, enjoying the softness. His heart raced in his chest when the action made her breath catch.

"It's...it's gone." He mumbled quietly, not daring to move, in case whatever magic or spell they were under got broken.

"Oh," Hermione answered, her cheeks a charming red, her gaze searching as she looked at the Slytherin. Draco gulped, staring at her lips, and wondering -not for the first time- what exactly they would taste like. Hesitantly he leant forward, his eyes darting between watching for a reaction and being hypnotised by the sheer redness of her lips.

"Malfoy?" Hermione uttered his name like a question.

"Granger." His answered, his voice strangled by how much he wanted to kiss her, and how scared he was that he was actually going to.

"Tea." The gruff voice of Mr Rowland called from the doorway, and both of them jumped, quickly creating as much distance as they could between each other. Draco turned and pretended to peruse a shelf of books, his cheeks flaming. He ran his hand through his hair, berating himself mentally for his own stupidity. What had he honestly planned to do? Kiss Hermione Granger and hope she didn't hex him into oblivion, or hit him, or tell him to take his pureblood arse somewhere else? He groaned slightly, the sheer magnitude of his idiocy punching him in the gut.

With a sigh, he turned and watched Hermione chat happily with Mr Rowland.

"How are you two getting on?" He asked, taking a book from the floor and placing it back on the shelf.

"Pretty good," Hermione stated, but Draco was sure he heard her voice shake as she met his gaze. "We've managed to find a couple of really helpful books." Draco nodded in agreement and the old man smiled, his small beady eyes shimmering in the dimness of the attic.

"Well, just to let you know, I'll be shutting up shop real soon." With that, the old man shook his way to the door, waved once, and left.

The air was heavy with questions that Hermione simply wasn't voicing. Draco felt like he should say something, but was pretty sure that anything he did say, would only serve to make things more awkward. Especially considering his explanation consisted of 'I'm sorry but I wanted to kiss you', he couldn't see Granger taking that very well. He sat down next to the tea tray, which was balanced precariously on a pile of books. He stared at the floral patterned cups, desperate to find something to say, something that would clear the air.

"You sure Mr Rowland isn't a wizard?" Draco asked, and Hermione turned to him, her forehead furrowed adorably in confusion.

"Yes, why?"

"That man shakes when he's breathing, how in Merlin's name did he make it all the way up here, without spilling anything?" Hermione smiled slightly, a small chuckle escaping her. It wasn't much, but it was a start.

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