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Will You Avenge her? by Island Girl

Will You Avenge her?

Island Girl

"While seven is considered the most magically powerful of all numbers, thirteen is associated with death and rebirth. Death is the thirteenth Tarot card, the threshold that must be passed before the soul can reach the underworld and be reborn. Thirteen is the sum of even and odd, right and left, north and south, sky and earth, dark and light, yin and yang, life and death."

"The pendulum represents duality. In particular, the pendulum in Divination, Arithmancy, and Ancient Runes is associated with life and death, and the soul moving between the two as one is born, dies, and is reborn, in continuous, natural momentum.

Chapter 1: The Dell of Nine

Quiverstone Chase came to him from his mother's side of the family. The expansive property encompassed far more than a sprawling country manor house.

The manor house stood on a magically reinforced bluff. The front portico of the manor faced the turbulent North Sea. To the west and south, crops, farms and cottages checkerboarded hundreds of acres. To the north, a forest older than Hadrian's Wall provided a natural barrier between the long-seated family and those who didn't fall under the family's protection. Deep within the forest existed something that was sacred, precious, powerful and fiercely protected by generations of sworn blood-vows: a Dell of Nine.

To witches, wizards, and every magical creature, A Dell of Nine is hallowed ground. Solemn and majestic, regal representations of magic so ancient that words did not exist with which describe their origin or purpose, Ash, Rowan, Birch, Oak, Yew, Willow, Elder, Hazel and Elm trees grow and thrive in a perfect circle, their leafy boughs forming a canopy the like of which only the convergence of nature and magic could create.

In the middle of the sacred circle of trees, Theo Nott continued with his meditation.

Since sunrise, he'd sat in the same exact spot, heels to haunches, head tilted back, eyes focused on the overhead canopy, his thoughts unerringly concentrated on the former owner of the twelve painstakingly collected items spaced evenly around him. The thirteenth item, a wand, the most precious acquisition of them all, rested across his folded knees.

So deep was he in his meditation, he didn't feel the need to relieve his bladder, curb his hunger, slake his thirst, or alleviate the cramping in his limbs. His leanly muscled frame didn't tremble with fatigue nor did his joints beg for movement.

Hour after hour, he relived his quest for each of the objects that encircled him: an empty Biro, a sugar quill, a small stack of apprenticeship solicitations, a blunt-tipped wire brush, O.W.L. results, a much-used diary, a time-tarnished needle, a care-worn children's book, a small, ornate vial containing a smear of dried blood, a pair of elegant hair slides, a hand-knitted beanie, and a set of wedding rings.

For more than twelve hours, he dwelled on the myriad of reasons why he pursued those objects. He did it all with a single mind-set: obtain justice for the wrongfully slain.

A demonstration of his pure intent, collecting the items and submitting them for evaluation was the only way to petition for a Blessing. Without the Blessing of the Dell, he'd never be able to send emissaries to The Three, The Four, and The Five. Without the Summoned Twelve, there'd be no justice for the wrongly slain. Without the combined power of The Thirteen, there'd be no hope in rescuing the one who'd been murdered from the land of the dead.

A sudden wind rustled the overhead boughs.

A surge of ancient magic pulsed against his skin, lifted his hair, and caused his eyes to open.

His own magic flared in acknowledgement as the Dell offered it's blessing: a sizable branch from each of the trees broke off and landed around him.

Standing stiffly but surely, Theo quickly gathered the nine long pieces of wood. Guided by the Dell and his own magic, he made for Oak and Yew. With effort, he manually braced each branch, with himself in the middle, against the other. Willow and Elder were reverently tilted into place. Elm and Birch supported and strengthened the others. It was instinct that made him carefully balance Hazel, Ash, and Rowan against the previously positioned six so that, now that he'd finished, the tops of all nine branches touched. In the scant space where the nine intersected, proof that he and the Dell were in perfect accord, he slid the wand he'd scoured memories and countryside to locate.

The moment his hand released the wand he hastily back-stepped. The pyre ignited. Flames that never consumed the living wood were confined to the conical space underneath where the nine branches connected.

The magic he invoked was too old to be plied with ritualistic chants or written interpretations of phonetics etched into the surrounding earth.

He silently collected three of the remaining twelve items and fed them to the sanctifying flames.

The light grey smoke curled up and condensed over the tops of the branches. The smoke separated into three owl-like shapes. Akin to a Patronus, each 'owl', with a scroll attached to it's leg, became corporeal before each flapped its wings and flew in three different directions into the gathering twilight.

Four more items left his hands and were accepted by the pyre. Like before, a ripple of magic preceded the emergence of four smoky Patronus-esque message-bearing owls that solidified and quickly became silhouettes aloft in the darkening sky.

In the wake of the final five items, five smoky owls spread their wings and aimed their opaque heads at the now-dark sky.

Intent is magic's most potent component. It was impossible for any of the missives to be read by anyone other than the intended recipient. Should intended recipient decline, then the Dell, guided by the Pyre, would solicit a suitable substitute.

Messengers sent, Theo gave his thanks for the Blessing he received. Not only was he found worthy, by the gift of the fallen branches. When the nine branches balanced against each other perfectly, those who'd comprise of the Twelve had also been found worthy. Most importantly, the person for whom he sought justice - and hoped for a resurrection - had been deemed worthy by the same ancient magic that fashioned the Dell. The worthiness proved by the flames that created the resulting emissaries. Should the Twelve choose to honor their calling, The Dell would summon the body of the victim. Should the Twelve - thirteen including himself - successfully hold the guilty accountable for their crimes, The Dell would return the soul to the stasis-held body.

The thrum of powerful magic bent every leaf and blade of grass in the Dell. Theo was pushed back, away from the pyre. His bare feet flexed and his body twisted as he struggled to remain upright.

Ash, Yew, Willow, Elder, Rowan, Hazel, Birch, Oak, and Elm straightened so that they stood perpendicular to the floor of the Dell and then separated. Non-consuming red and gold flames with blue centers swathed the lengths of the branches. The lowest sections of the nine branches sprouted rapidly growing offshoots. Green and rife with magic, the quintessence of The Sacred Nine reached out for their brethren. Fire filled the gaps between leaf and twig. Light and heat radiated from where nature and magic intertwined. A low-rising altar, three feet wide and six feet long, just visible between the flickering flames, now existed.

A Persephone's Table lit the Dell.

The Rosier Family Grimoire outlined the necessary steps to invoke the Dell, but it never prepared Theo for the sense of… honor… that eashed over him when the ancient magic approve of his endeavors.

Theo once more sank into his meditative pose, eye-level with the Table. He turned his thoughts inward, once more surrendering to the magic of the Dell.

The first of The Twelve could arrive in thirteen minutes or thirteen hours. Having all his magic and his emotions in hand was the best way to prepare himself for the second half of his task.

He forced himself not to relive the day of the funeral, the same day he discovered his Grimoire responded to his touch, the same day his thoughts of revenge became a driving need to avenge.

He didn't think that the others, whoever they might be, would be able to do the same.

*** *** ***

Harry knew better than to accept a magically compressed scroll from a strange owl. An owl that sailed through his wards unimpeded and lighted outside the railing that bracketed his bedroom's balcony in the small hours of the morning. An owl that dissipated into smoke the moment he took the scroll in his hand. A scroll that didn't dissipate into smoke the moment he answered the question etched onto the ethereal parchment.

Not that he was asleep in the first place. He didn't sleep much as it was. No. He was awake. Had been since he knew his bed wouldn't be enough to bring him sleep. He whiled away the night awake and reclined on a well-padded chaise on the balcony attached to his bedroom with no specific thoughts in his head and a blanket wrapped around his body.

Vacuous no more, he turned around and made for his bedroom.

He remembered a time when he did sleep well.

The hours that Hermione spent 'on watch' were the same hours where he actually got some much needed rest. He trusted her not to let anything happen to him. Even afterwards, when he was in London at Auror training and she was in Scotland completing her Hogwarts education, he knew that he was still under her protection.

Part of that was psychosomatic; she was the only one who'd never failed him. The other part had to do with the night, on the Winter Solstice, just days before the disastrous trip to Godric's Hollow, when she used her own blood, rendered herbs, and an array of ingredients he'd never recognized to draw runes on each of his chakra points.

No. She'd never let him down.

Too bad he couldn't say the same for himself.

So the last time he slept securely was thirteen months ago.

Voldemort had been defeated the previous May. The Muggleborn Registration Act had been repealed; the perpetrators of that heinous piece of legislation were awaiting trials on the charges of genocide. A separate inquiry as to how so many Muggleborns had been 'located', a political euphemism for 'arrested', in such a short time was underway. A reformed and contrite Draco, Narcissa, and Lucius Malfoy, still reeling from their subjugation by Voldemort, were working on behalf of those 'lawfully but wrongfully incarcerated', more exercises in semantics by a Ministry desperate to re-instill faith in its constituents , by sponsoring Healers, Mind Healers, and solicitors to reconstruct their lives in the wake of the hatred heaped upon them.

Snape, critically injured as he was by Nagini, survived the vile snake's venom. The team of Healers assigned to his case could only speculate that the magical toxicity of the venom was directly linked to the life of the snake, which was why the acerbic man hadn't died. The same Healers surmised that the eradication of his Dark Mark, which returned to him the bit of magic Voldemort continually siphoned, boosted his immune system.

Remus also survived. The gentle Marauder's self-healing capabilities stemmed from his lycanthropy but despite their life-bond, didn't transfer to Tonks. When Lupin rose from his stretcher, he howled in anguish at the sight of a sheet draped over his wife's inert body. Five months later, the man missed his wife every single day and attempted to compensate by devoting himself to his son every moment of every single day.

The biggest surprise? And this he clearly laid at Hermione's feet which she neither confirmed or denied. Sirius was found, naked and shaking, in the Veil Room, thirteen weeks after the Final Battle. Ironically, it was the memories of Wormtail provided by a still-haggard Malfoy family and convalescing Snape that exonerated Sirius.

The man was still a mental mess.

Wrongfully imprisoned, tormented relentlessly by Dementors, re-imprisoned by Dumbledore, and them blasted into the Veil by his cousin Bellatrix only to re-emerge into a post-Voldemort reality would send the sanest, soundest, man 'round the bend. Hermione speculated that, even as a youth, Sirius suffered from some variation of a depression disorder. With her encouragement, Sirius' and Snape's recoveries included chemical and psychological components. Harry was now catching glimpses of what each man was meant to be, if they hadn't been twisted by fate, life, and Dumbledore.

The issue of Dumbledore's ultimate culpability was something Harry hadn't quite reconciled. Hermione was tight-lipped about the man. Ron worshipped the former Headmaster. Everyone else he knew fell into 'loved him' or 'hated him' categories. Harry knew that Albus Dumbledore was no saint. He also acknowledged that he'd been victimized by Albus. But how much of what happened over the past twenty years - more so, if one included Tom Riddle's introduction to the Wizarding World - was one man's deliberate machinations and how much of it was the result of one man being human? He couldn't answer that question. Honestly? He didn't know if he ever could. The surreal conversation he had with the man in the metaphorical Kings Cross would have to stand as their last interaction as he knew he wasn't ready to face the Headmaster's portrait. Which, according to McGonagall, had yet to awaken. Odd, that. As far as Harry knew, a portrait animated automatically upon the subject's death. Then again, when did Dumbledore ever do what was expected of him?

That was another debate for another day.

He scrubbed his face with his hand and started to lay clothing on his bed. The parchment he placed carefully on the left side of his bed. Once done, he entered his bathroom. First he shaved, then he showered. Once dry, towel draped over the door, he strode back into his bedroom.

Item by item, he dressed: dragon-hide boots, denims, rugby shirt, contacts instead of his trade-mark glasses, Wizard's cloak; a deliberate blend of muggle and magical.

Guided by his magic and his heart, the memory of a bushy haired, bright-eyed, confident girl pointing her wand at his face and clearly enunciating the first spell he'd ever heard caused him to repeat those two words out loud.

"Occulous Reparo."

The first two fingers and thumb of each hand, the fingers he used to hold the question sent to him - Will You Avenge Her? - glowed blue. Harry felt a tug akin to that of an activated portkey.

*** *** ***