the heiress and the warrior @natenino23
Chapter 17

"It's unprecedented, it's never been done before!"

Sirius groaned in frustration, running a hand through his wild hair as he watched Albion stand firm against Old Shacklebolt inside Cyrus' office, the leader of the Rune Knight's was pacing in agitation, fists clenched at his side, behind him stood Marshall Fawley, the head of the Fawley family and one of the more prominent members of the Rune Knights; he stood quietly, observing the everyone in the room with a muted interest.

"They're ahead of their training Shacklebolt." Cyrus said patiently, "Susan Bones has been ready for the Knight Ceremony since she was twelve, much less the Squire ceremony, Mr. Potter, Ms. Greengrass, and Ms. Granger are more than ready for it, and Mr. Finnegan isn't too far behind, they stepped up during the crisis-"

"-tradition states they must be fifteen to be officially taken in as squires." Shacklebolt spat, "the names you've given are barely eligible to be Paige's, must less Squires!"

"And yet you'll try and push your eleven year old grandson into being a squire four years ahead of schedule?" Sirius drawled, making Fawley hide a snicker behind a cough. "While they haven't been at training for long, they've taken to it with great fervor, much like myself and James, who-if you'll remember-got our Knighthood two months into our training."

"James Potter was a prodigy, may he rest in peace." Shacklebolt grumbled, "and you-well, you were the first Black to be Inducted, not only that, but we were on the brink of a war-"

"-a war that you tried to stop us from fighting in," Sirius rebutted, standing up, "and now we're on the verge of a new war and you're trying to stop the next generation from being prepared!"

"Another war," he scoffed, "Preposterous!"

"Actually I quite agree." Fawley spoke up, stepping forward and running a quick hand over his short black hair, "the appearance of these…these Death Knight's show we're coming upon another conflict."

"One that we can find a diplomatic solution-"

"-they attacked without provocation." Cyrus interrupted, "and they weren't throwing stunners, they were aiming to kill. Diplomacy is not the route."

"Roran you must see that now is the time to bolster our War Dogs," Fawley implored, "and the best way to do it is by promoting our trainees and giving them more advanced training, we cannot dig our heads in the ground, not again."

Shacklebolt took a deep breath, "I cannot make this decision," he muttered, "we must bring it in front of the council."

"Then call a meeting." Sirius urged, "bring forth the Ten, and let us vote on our future."

Shacklebolt glared at them, "Fine," he spat, "I'll send the call out." with that he turned and strode out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

Fawley sighed, "next meetings are going to be such a headache."

"Thank you, Marshall." Sirius said sincerely, clasping the man on the shoulder, "I doubt he'd have called a meeting if you hadn't backed us up."

"Shacklebolt's set in his ways,' Fawley said, "but even he can't ignore this new enemy." he looked at Cyrus, "were they truly a match for you and Shafiq?"

"Barely," he said with a shake of his head, "but the fact that they were able to go blow for blow for more than six spells is concerning."

"Agreed," Sirius said, sitting back down, "we need to find out who these people are and why they're throwing their lot in with the Death Eaters."

"I've already got some men on it," Cyrus reassured him. "Artie for one, he's one of the best sleuths we got, Selwyn and Abbott are helping as well, they may get sidetracked though, there was a fire in the warehouse district, nine dead."

"What was the cause?" Fawley asked, Sirius leaned in, an interested gleam in his eyes.

"Unsure yet," Cyrus sighed, "only reason we're allowed to investigate is because the inferno damaged one of our warehouses, nothing major, but the damage was strange enough to warrant further snooping."

"I might go by, Moony's working in the Warehouse district, he might have some things to say." Sirius said, standing as he checked his watch, "need to get back to the Burrow, they're back to Hogwarts tomorrow."

"Give my love to Daphne," Cyrus called as the man turned on the spot and disapparated with a crack!

"He's doing better." Fawley commented.

"He's having more good days than bad," Cyrus agreed, "but that's only because of the children, I worry he'll backslide when they return to school."

"Belladora inquired about him the other day," he said, "bit in passing, but I know he's been on her mind, she probably wouldn't be adverse to a visit from him."

Cyrus nodded slowly, "he remembered her, vaguely," he said, walking out of the office with Fawley following, "he remembered their sixth year trip to france, before the war truly started.'

"That's all he remembers?" Fawley asked, surprise clear in his voice.

"Prolonged exposure from the Dementors caused gaps in his memory," he sighed, "quite a few of his most treasured memories were reduced to gray hazes, some have returned, others…" Cyrus trailed off as Fawley grabbed his arm, the older man looked to the younger, who looked panicked, and a little angry.

"You didn't tell him. Did you?" he accused, eyes narrowing into a glare.

"...he wasn't ready." Cyrus muttered, "I don't know if he's ready now, the man is broken-"

"-yet you're keeping information from him that could potentially see him fixed?" Fawley asked incredulously.

"Or it could drive him further into depression." Cyrus countered bluntly, making Fawley's shoulders drop a bit, "he was in Azkaban for twelve years, Marshall, lesser men were confined to a bed for a year coming out of that place after a few months; we're lucky Sirius has been able to adjust as he has…telling him more than he's ready for could spell disaster."

"...I don't like it…I really don't like it."

"It's also not our place to say, they'll have to work it out between themselves."

"Still don't like it."

Cyrus sighed, "neither do I…neither do I."


The scarlet engine of the Hogwarts express for once brought a bit of sadness to Harry's heart.

Before this past year the train was a symbol of leaving behind his rotten family and escape into a world of magic that he belonged too, and while his summer had brought forth more studying and work then he'd ever had in his life, he couldn't help but think he'd miss spending his evenings in the greenhouses of the manor, idly walking with Daphne as they tended the plants before dinner; he'd miss studying until Hermione had passed out amongst her thousands of books, pappy griping about having to put them all up while the children stumbled off to their rooms.

"You good pup?" Sirius asked, setting a hand on the younger boys shoulder.

"Yeah…just gonna miss the manor I suppose." Harry said.

"It'll still be there come Christmas," Sirius said with a soft smile, "for now, just worry about classes and all the fun things you'll be doing in Hogwarts, Make this semester one worthy of a Marauder."

Harry chuckled at that, "I'll be sure to send you a letter detailing all the highlights."

"And i'll be looking forward to it," he said seriously, pulling Harry into a hug, "Take care pup, stay safe."

You too Padfoot." Harry said softly, returning the hug before turning to his girlfriend, who'd been saying her goodbyes to her grandfather and father, who was already leaving to take care of another business deal or other.

"You two stay out of trouble." Cyrus warned them with a smile, "the only letter I want from Dumbledore is one telling me how proper my granddaughter and ward were."

"When have I ever caused trouble?" Daphne asked.

"Didn't you aid and abet an escaped convict?" Harry asked innocently.

"Quiet you."

Sirius gave a barking laugh, "try and enjoy this year eh?"

With another round of good-byes, and promises to write Sirius, the two young magicals boarded the train, pinkies linked.

"Hermione's sitting with Susan," Daphne said, "shall we join them?"

Before he could respond someone bumped into his shoulder. He looked up to find Malfoy stuttering to a stop.

"Sorry," he grumbled, awkwardly shuffling for a moment before moving on.

"Did…malfoy just apologize to you?" Daphne asked him quietly as they began moving again.

"I…think so." Harry mumbled, perplexed as they entered Susan's cart, Hermione was already there with Ron, Roger Davies, and Hannah Abbott.

"There you two are!" Hermione exclaimed as they settled in, "I was about to send Ron to go find you!"

"Got caught up saying goodbyes." Harry said, settling in by Hannah, Daphne right at his side, "got to hear Malfoy apologize to me too."

The entire cart quieted and looked at him like he'd grown a second head, "he apologized?" Ron asked incredulously.

"Yeah, bumped into my shoulder and said sorry, very weird…"

"He's been off since Sirius Black gave them that scare." Roger Davies said, "think he got a rude awakening from that."

"He's still a prat." Susan scoffed, "anyways, how's everyone been since The World Cup?"

"You guys were there too?" Roger asked.

"We were in the section they attacked." Ron clarified, making Roger whistle.

"I was a few sections over, we evacuated, but nothing exciting happened."

"Wish we could've said the same thing." Harry muttered, "Seamus almost got stunned by ministry workers."

"Now that sounds like a story." Hannah said, leaning forward.

"It was a right pain in my ass." Seamus huffed as he entered the compartment, Dean right behind him,"ran from Knights with skulls for helmets, got some Weasley's out alongside me before I realized I didn't have my wand, few minutes later the Dark Mark goes up and Ministry workers drop in like they knew my friggin' address, we dodged their first salvo and then Harry there came charging in, disarmed three of em before Susan and Ron disarmed some others; got accused of being a terrorist and saw a ministry officials elf get clothes because she was an accessory to the whole thing. Barkin mad the whole situation."

Hannah blinked, "oh…oh wow." She whispered faintly.

"You gents really went through the rough of it eh?" Roger asked, looking at Ron and Harry appraisingly, "and you took on Ministry officials without any hesitation."

"Susan was practically leading the charge." Harry said.

"Says the guy who disarmed three." Hermione retorted.

"That was a fluke, and will probably never happen again." Harry muttered, leaning back and putting an arm around Daphne.

"You did all that Ron?"

The new voice had Ron jumping a bit, looking to the corridor where Su Li was standing, looking at him in awe; two of her friends were rolling their eyes fondly at her.f

"Erm…well yeah, couldn't let Harry go it alone right?" he asked, ears turning red.

She nodded furiously, "would you-would you like to sit with us Ron? I would love to hear more about it."

"Oh! Well uh…I…" he stuttered, now a bright red.

"He would love to." Hermione piped up, practically shoving Ron out of his chair and towards the awaiting girl making Su blush as Ron sheepishly stood beside her, "Guess I could go for a walk…" Ron mumbled awkwardly.

"We'll catch up with you later Su!" her friends called as they quickly retreated down the corridor, giggling all the way.

"R-right." Su stuttered, quickly grabbing Ron's hand and leading him off.

"Lavender wanted me to stop by."Dean said, heading out the door as Hannah followed, "i forgot I needed to go talk to Cho!"

Harry blinked in confusion, looking at Daphne who looked furious.

"How dare you use compulsions on our friends." she hissed at Roger, Susan glaring at him as well.

"We needed to talk, didn't we?" he asked dryly. "And none of them would have gone off on their own-"

"-that doesn't give you the right-" Hermione began, ready to go on a full-blown tirade.

"As a senior squire in Hogwarts it is my duty-" Roger shouted her down.

"-bewitch my friend again and we'll have a go Davies." Seamus said bluntly, interrupting him before he could get any further. "Now what was so important that you confounded four people?"

"Four?" Roger asked in confusion.

"Dean, Hannah, Ron and Su!" Susan exclaimed hotly.

"I only confounded Dean and Hannah, I have no idea what got into Ron and Su." he said slowly.

Hermione snorted, "she's been writing to him all summer, he still hasn't connected the dots."

Susan and Daphne chuckled a bit at that, while Harry and Seamus shared a smirk.

"Anyways," Roger began, "I wanted to give all of you a rundown on what to expect tonight, been awhile since we got new initiates, let alone four, so i figure it best to run through protocol-"

"-shouldn't we include Neville into this?" Harry questioned, looking between everyone.

"...Longbottom hasn't joined yet," Roger said carefully, "He's still undecided as of now, if he joins during the year I'll have one of you pull him to the side and explain things, but for now, it's just us."

"It's not too difficult," Susan said with a frown, "basically you're not allowed a vote in what goes on with the Knights' in Hogwarts, we have extra lessons every saturday and sunday night, and we meet every solstice and feast at the end of the night."

"I was gonna explain it." Roger huffed a bit.

"Sod off Davies, you're making this harder than it really has to be." Susan snapped, 'they're not Squires yet, they're still paiges, same as me, meaning we sit in on the meetings, but we don't get to discuss."

"I thought that was a given." Seamus muttered helpfully, 'How the fuck would we be able to be apart of decisions if we don't even know what the fuck's goin' on?"

"What are we even voting on?" Harry asked, "it's not like anything we decide on here affects the Rune Knight's out there."

"That's where you're wrong.' Roger said firmly, puffing his chest up importantly, 'we are the eyes and ears for the high council for what goes on in Hogwarts, what covens have formed, what they're studying, persons' of interest that we need to keep an eye on, we even hold a sway on what gets changed in hogwarts."

Susan discreetly rolled her eyes, 'ah yes, because things change so much in hogwarts." she drawled sarcastically.

"Not without our say so it doesn't." Roger rebutted.

"Are we done?" Seamus asked impatiently, "I have a confounded friend I need to go find."

"Same." Susan agreed tightly.

Roger hesitated, then nodded, 'Fine, find me after the welcoming feast." with that he stood up and walked out of the room.

"What a blow-hard." Seamus sneered.

"He's definitely full of himself." Daphne agreed, "what are the meetings really like?"

"More like a gossip circle than anything." Susan revealed, "who's dirty business is going on where, what so and so heard from so and so about so and so's illegal business, it's all boring tripe that I don't get to talk in until forty minutes pass, one of Fawley's ideas that I hate, a lot of times there is no voting, i think there's only been like two while i've been there, one was to see if they should see what was behind the door on the third floor back in first year, and the second-" she paused, glancing at harry uncomfortably.

"The Chamber of Secrets?" he asked.

"...yes." she said carefully, "both times they ruled not to get involved, felt like that was right up our alley, but-"

"-it'd of been nice to have had that back up, even if we didn't know it at the time." Hermione mumbled.

"That's right, you two had something to do with both incidents right?" Seamus asked.

"Well we-"

"-don't want to talk about it," harry interrupted, giving Hermione a look before she could finish her sentence, "at least not here, and not before we go find Dean and Hannah."

"Agreed," Daphne said, giving Susan and Seamus a look telling them not to press it, "we could have our own meeting after the one with the other members."

"Doesn't feel right leaving Ron out of this." Hermione mumbled.

"We might be able to get him to join-" Harry started.

"-that's not up to us." Daphne reminded them, "he has to be sponsored, and I'm afraid no ones' tried to sponsor a Weasley since Bill and Charlie, and they both declined."

"Really?" Susan asked in surprise.

"Grandda was talking about it the other day.' she said, "he said Shafiq had wanted to sponsor both, and had tried to get Arthur to join when he was back in school, all of them turned it down."

"Doesn't mean Ron will." Seamus reasoned.

"Only time will tell,' Susan said, standing up, "let's go find our friends."


The warehouse district of London was a sort of gray area when it came to magic and muggles.

After all, you needed docks to transport goods in and out of the country, magical or not, and while you could feasibly cloak a private dock to be protected from muggles, semi-private or even public wharfs were cheaper to use and squib workers were an abundance, the odd creature wanting to find some free-range work were also welcome here, the muggles had long since gotten used to the odd workers, many believing them to be foreigners trying to make it in the UK; no one blinked if a worker was shorter than average and with pointer ears than your typical person, nor did they wonder why some of the workers only showed up at night, leaving well before the sun ever comes up.

It was a place where Remus Lupin kept himself from starving, and where he was currently working as Security for three of the larger warehouses in the area, a muggle 9mm holstered at his side and his wand hidden up his sleeve; It was killer to be working so soon after the full moon, but his Goblin replacement had been called in by the Goblin Nation on a question of an honor battle, so it was the least Remus could do for someone who had a good chance of being dead before the week was out.

"Need a cuppa there Moony?"

Remus smiled as he turned around, the heavenly smell of chocolate-y coffee filling the seaside air, "what on earth is that."

"Chocolate caramel Frappe." Sirius explained as he walked up to his friend, handing over hte large cup, "I've been getting the culture moony, heading on out in to the great big world, it's something the Italians whipped up I think."

"I don't think that's right." Remus said, taking a cautionary sip and nodding, "but it is good, thank you Padfoot, and not to be rude, but to what do I owe the pleasure? I'd of thought you'd be commiserating at the Manor since Harry's back at Hogwarts."

"I got something else to tie my time over," Sirius said with a smile, "though I will be missing him…anyways, there was a warehouse fire not too far from here a few nights ago-"

"-the Triple Q warehouse, yes." Remus nodded as they walked into the first warehouse he had to patrol, "I wasn't working that night, but it doesn't surprise me it burned down, all hours of the night they're usually working in there, no idea what it is, and anytime me or Bludvist alert the Aurors to possible violations they just tell us it's being handled. Nothing's changed though, till Bludvist said some fire started up, engulfed the whole building in fifteen minutes he said."

"And where is Bludvist?" Sirius asked.

"He's gone to the continent, some Goblin prince or other challenged him to an honor duel for something I don't understand, and Bludvist won't explain it, no idea if he'll ever be back, though I know he's an extremely good fighter."

"Bullocks, was hoping to find out more information." he cursed.

"Polishing off your Aurors badge?" Remus asked with a smile.

"I've thought about it," he admitted, "I was recommissioned, and Madam Bones said I'm officially a permanent on call officer, but she never said I couldn't investigate things."

"Well I can let you know the next time Bludvist is in, if he ever comes back-" a crash had Sirius pulling his wand while Remus pulled his gun, "who's there!" Sirius called out, only silence answered, "is there another way out?" SIrius asked REmus.

"Back door, but it's practically welded shut." Remus muttered.

Suddenly a skinny frame slammed into Remus, sending him crashing to the ground as Sirius tried to get a hand on whatever was running past, only to get punched in the chin for his troubles.

"Blimey-shit!" Sirius cursed as he got his bearings, "you alright Moony?"

"I'm fine! Go get them!"

Sirius took off, easily catching up with the stumbling vagrant and tackling them to the ground.

"Let go of me!" The woman shrieked, thrashing wildly and letting her thick tangled hair fly about with every move.

"That's enough, you're caught so just-" Sirius stopped, a cold dread washing over him as he finally got a look at her face, "Bella…"

She stopped struggling, her head slowly turning to look back at him, she was gaunt and terrified,her heart shaped face more skull like then he remembered, but there was no doubting it was her.

"Siri?" she whispered hoarsely as he hauled her up, almost immediately she was turning around, Sirius braced himself, preparing to feel her claw his neck, go for his wand, anything.

Instead she hugged him, clinging to him like a shaken child, sobbing as she practically collapsed.

"They're monsters, they're monsters, all of them are monsters!" she cried hysterically as Sirius embraced her.

"Who Bella, Who are they?" Sirius asked frantically, whirling around when he heard footsteps, only to relax when it was Remus, who started at seeing just who was in his arms.

"they're-SIri they're awful! They were- they-they-" her voice seemed to fade as she slumped against his chest, her arms falling limp at her side.

"Bella? Bella! Bella come on!" Sirius shook her, frantically trying to get her to wake up as Remus finally reached them, his hands feeling her neck for a pulse while Sirius checked her over, she was covered in small half-healed incisions and needle marks, as well as unhealed burns ranging in severity.

"She's unconscious." Remus reassured as Sirius picked her up, unsurprised at how light she was, "what in blazes is she doing here in a warehouse district?"

"Last I knew she was locked up in Azkaban." Sirius muttered, "at least she was over a year ago when I was in prison…get back to the warehouse, see if you can find anything to suggest where she came from, I'm going to take her to a healer."

"Sirius, don't forget who she is-" Remus warned.

"-I know who she is." he said abruptly, glaring at him, "Doesn't change the fact that she needs help." with that he turned on his heal and disapparated with a crack!

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