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And Love Prevails by Phoenix_Flames
Chapter 4: And Then There Were Two
Edited and revised: 1/13/13
absolutely gorgeous chapter image by nymeria
Dominique did not know exactly where they were going, but she put her faith and trust in Ignotus that he would lead her somewhere beneficial. That he wouldn't dispose of her somewhere in a ditch or leave her to find her own way back. She believed that he was truly helping her.
They rode their horses through the town at a steady, relaxing trot. It was not at a fast pace like it had been upon entering Godric's Hollow. Dominique found herself able to breathe, to relax, and to concentrate on her posture upon the horse rather than worrying about the unfamiliar creature bobbing between her legs. They passed townspeople, but Ignotus was right. No one paid them any mind other than to incline their heads politely in acknowledgement. Dominique blended in with her time-appropriate attire and her correct posture. She just nodded to the people along with Ignotus.
They reached the back of the town where she knew the wealthier townspeople lived. The houses back there were finer, more cautiously made with stone and standing stories tall. Ignotus led them to a house on the edge of the town. The grass was green and flowers littered the entry way and the along the edge of the house. The house's wooden shutters were painted a fine red, and two horses were tied out front, grazing in their available grass.
The horse came to a stop and Ignotus slid off the back, tying the reigns onto the post with the other horses. Dominique just sat there patiently like Ignotus had instructed her. She waited patiently, head held high, until Ignotus came to her aide. He held out his hand, and she grasped it firmly, sliding off. Ignotus gripped her waist until she was steady.
Not used to her new clothing, she smoothed down the long dress and her cloak. Ignotus adjusted her plaited hair, clearing his throat to grab her attention. "You did well; you learn fast. We are at my brother's home now. Once we are inside, you are free to be yourself. My family can be trusted."
"Okay," Dominique swallowed, nodding. "Thank you. I appreciate this."
He nodded, escorting her to the door. He lifted his fist to rasp firmly on the door to signal their arrival, but before he could even knock, the door was flung open and a blur jumped from the entry way of the house to Ignotus' waist.
"Uncle!" the blur shouted excitedly, clutching to the man's legs.
Dominique took a step back to appraise their new company. Ignotus pried the child off of his legs and crouched down to his level. Ignotus was beaming as he smoothed down the young boy's copper locks. "Ah! Tyrion! I promise you get faster every day. With eyes and ears like yours, you'll know I'm coming before I can even dismount my horse! Perhaps your father will take you on your first hunting trip soon, yeah?"
"Oh, Uncle! I ask Father all the time, but he never listens," the young boy said.
Ignotus laughed and shook his head. "Your father will listen someday."
"Who is that, Uncle?" the young boy asked. Ignotus stepped behind the boy, placing his large hands on the kid's shoulders and giving gentle squeezes.
"This, Tyrion, is my friend the Lady Dominique. She will be staying with me for a while." When he finished speaking, he looked from Tyrion to Dominique and mouthed something. She nearly outstretched her hand to shake with the young boy's, but Ignotus caught her eye. She finally deciphered what he was mouthing. Bow.
She dropped her hand to her side. She didn't know how to curtsy; she had never done so in her entire life, but she just did the best with what she did know. She grabbed the loose fabric of her gown and held it up as she dropped down into her curtsy. She knew it clearly wasn't too vital that she be appropriate, so she put on a bright smile and giggled with a jesting tone. "My Lord. What an honor to meet you."
"Well done," Ignotus mouthed with a pleased smile.
"My pleasure, my Lady," Tyrion said with a grin. He turned up to his uncle and beamed. "She is beautiful, Uncle."
Dominique blushed at the compliment, and after Ignotus nodded in agreement with Tyrion, the boy jumped for her hand. He took it and led her into the house with a wide smile, suddenly ranting about all the things he wanted to show her. "Come with me, Lady! Have you met my father? You should come play with me and my dog! His name is Arrow. He was a present to me from my grandmother."
"Oh my," Dominique said under her breath, surprised at the boy's enthusiasm to entertain her. She looked up to Ignotus for further help. He only smiled and nodded, mouthing for her to follow the boy.
Ignotus stepped into the house behind Dominique and the boy. He watched them disappear into another room, brushing past another Peverell brother. Dominique stopped in her tracks, freezing. Cadmus, however, hadn't noticed her just yet. He steadied his child and chided to him. "Woah, Tyrion. Slow down."
"Yes, father," Tyrion said before beginning to drag Dominique away again.
Cadmus stopped him again though, folding his hands before him and eyeing Dominique. Dominique looked at the tall man, his strong jaw, long dark hair and scruffy moustache. He was just as rugged as Ignotus and draped in fine fabrics. "And who is your friend, Tyrion?"
"This is Lady Dominique. She is an acquaintance of Uncle's," said the boy. He let go of Dominique's hand long enough for her to drop down into another curtsy.
When she stood up once more, Cadmus reached out and took her hand, placing a kiss on the back of it and locking eyes with her. "Lady Dominique, what a pleasure to meet you."
"T-The pleasure is all mine," she replied in a shaky voice. She knew trying to fool a grown man would be much more difficult than trying to fool an eight-year-old boy.
"A friend of Ignotus' is always a friend of ours, but why it has taken so long for us to become acquainted is beyond me," Cadmus said.
"A story I will share with you and mother," Ignotus commented. He gave his brother a look that said to not say anything more about it.
Cadmus nodded and patted his son on the head. "Go, Tyrion. Your Uncle and I have matters to discuss."
"Yes, Father," said the boy, and he was dragging Dominique out of the room in the next moment.
When Ignotus watched the door through which Tyrion took Dominique through, Ignotus approached his brother. "Cadmus, brother, the strangest thing has happened."
"Who is that woman?" Cadmus asked under his breath, not quite focusing on his younger brother just yet. "She is absolutely radiant."
"That is wonderful you think so," muttered Ignotus, not quite caring what his brother thought. He reached out for him, tugging him into a sitting room. "Where is Mother? There is something I want to share with the both of you about Lady Dominique."
"Why, she is in her chambers," Cadmus answered. He whistled loudly, and a servant came bustling into the room. She bowed before the older brother and asked what her master wanted of her. She scurried out of the room to fetch Eirene Peverell when Cadmus told her.
The brothers waited patiently in the sitting room, the room lined with old paintings, antique objects, and only wooden chairs around it. A tall, lean woman briskly entered the room. She adjusted her hair as she stepped in, beaming at the news of her son's visit.
"Oh, Ignotus," she exhaled in a breezy voice. Ignotus smiled and rose, taking both of his mother's outstretched hands and placing a gentle kiss on her cheek. "So lovely of you to stop by."
"Of course," he said in reply, pulling out a chair for his mother. He pushed it in behind her as she sat, sitting in between her and his brother. "And you look beautiful as always, Mother."
"Thank you, son," Eirene nodded. "Now, what is so urgent?"
"There is something I would like to tell the both of you, and I wish Antioch would be here to know as well, but I will not wait. Mother, there is a woman with Tyrion right now. He is introducing her to Arrow. Her name is Dominique. I found her in a field just outside of Godric's Hollow dressed in the oddest clothing. She - umm," Ignotus began to explain, but faltered. He was not used to lying to his family. Not like this, and he found that he was still unsure about lying or telling the truth to his mother and Cadmus.
His stories were conflicting. How was he to get help for Dominique if he didn't tell the others? They could have ideas, while he still had none. However, he, Antioch, and Cadmus had agreed to never speak of their encounter with Death to anyone else. Granted, Ignotus had already shared such events with Dominique, but different circumstances had risen. But this pact included their mother Eirene. She did not know of their encounter on the bridge, nor did the brother's ever hope for their mother to find out. Eirene was a pure woman who the brothers believed would disapprove of their actions. Therefore, he couldn't share how the cloak was what sent up the red flag for Ignotus.
But he also couldn't share how Dominique claimed to be from a different time. Cadmus and his mother would immediately shoot down his proposal and declare the both of them mad. If they knew that Ignotus had even considered Dominique's story, and even worse if they knew that he believed her, they would consider him mad as well.
"She does not remember anything but her name," Ignotus found the words falling out of his mouth before he could think twice about them. "I could not just leave her there. I brought her back to my home, let her borrow one of your dresses, Mother, and had Jocosa clean her up. She will be staying with me until she finds her home once again. Brother, you will understand why I have told Tyrion she is an old friend of mine. The townspeople don't do well with outsiders unless they can prove they are witch or wizard."
"And is she?" Cadmus asked. "Is she of magical blood?"
"Yes, I believe so," Ignotus nodded.
"It matters not if she is of magical blood. She is a woman lost who has forgotten her home, her family, and possibly her husband. She must be feeling lonely, perhaps confused. I approve of your actions, Ignotus. The people do not need to be questioning her magical ability, or her status, at that; that is the last thing she needs. You are always kind to those around you. I am glad you have taken her in."
"Thank you, Mother," Ignotus smiled. He did not believe that his mother would have had an issue with his discretion at all. He and his mother had always seen eye to eye. When there were disagreements within their family, Ignotus and his mother always sided together. They rarely ever disagreed on anything. "I knew you would agree, so I was going to ask if you could lend her some of your clothes and your horse until she returns."
"Yes, of course. That creature needs to leave the house every now and again. She is free to ride her," Eirene commented with a wave of dismissal. "I would love to meet this woman."
"I will get her, if you will just wait right here." Ignotus rose and made his way through the house. It was small, but amicable and comfortable. He found Tyrion sitting on the ground in the servant's kitchen, Dominique kneeling next to him as they played with a small puppy. Tyrion was tugging on a stick that the puppy was gnawing excitedly on.
"Dominique," Ignotus said.
Startled, Dominique turned to face him. She excused herself from Tyrion, dusted off her dress, and went to stand by his side. Ignotus pulled a leaf out of her hair and looked at her sternly, instructing her in a whisper. "My mother would like to meet you. I have told her that you do not remember anything but your name. It is the safest way to go about this for now; you must play along."
"All right. I can do that," nodded Dominique. "W-What do I...What is the proper way for me to introduce myself?"
"You will bow to her at the door and wait for her to say something. She is a woman of high and respectful class."
"Okay," she nodded. She closed her eyes as she stared at the stone floor, exhaling deeply to keep herself calm.
"You will do fine," whispered Ignotus, aware of her anxiety. She was doing brilliantly already. By simply watching her, he could tell that Dominique was a natural. Perhaps she didn't think so herself, but no one would suspect anything. Tryion already loved her as well. "You are performing magnificently."
"Thanks," she whispered, and with that Ignotus led her from the small kitchen.
They curved throughout the house. Ignotus led her slowly, aware of how curious and interested she was in the paintings, the objects, and the furniture within the house. Ignotus couldn't even imagine how different things must be for her. Instead of looking at what she was observing, Ignotus found himself looking at her instead, how fascinated, how awe-struck she was with everything, how she seemed to find everything so whimsical when Ignotus believed everything in his life to be so plain and boring.
It fascinated her how well structured the house was. Eight-hundred years in the past, she couldn't have possibly imagined how people built anything, how they made their food, their clothing.
It fascinated her, and she didn't quite know why. But everything was so well done. Clearly not in all parts of Godric's Hollow; she had observed that on her ride in. But Ignotus' home and his brother's home was strong and sturdy, built of stone with fine wooden furniture and decorative paintings.
They reached the sitting room and Igntous introduced the two women. "Mother, this is Dominique. Dominqiue, my mother, the Lady Eirene."
Eirene nodded, and Dominique dropped down into her curtsy. That was when his mother smiled and rose from her chair, taking both of Dominique's hands and kissing her cheeks. "Dominqiue. So lovely to meet you. And what a beautiful name."
"Thank you so much, my Lady," replied Dominique in the hopes that she had worded her response correctly.
"What you have gone through, Lady, is terrible. You are welcome here as long as you need. Ignotus is the sweetest man I have ever known, apart from his father. I am not surprised in the slightest that he has offered you such hospitality."
"Thank you. I greatly appreciate your kindness, and I know. You have raised a very generous man," commented Dominique.
Before anyone could comment any further, a knock came from the front door. There was no time to reply or to even allow the servant to answer the door before the knock continued. It grew into a persistent pounding, the person on the other side shouting impatiently. The door was shaking, rattling the entire front wall of the house. "Cadmus! Ignotus! Come quick!"
Cadmus had risen from his seat. He had his hand clasped over the hilt of his sword. Ignotus grasped the elbow of his mother and Dominique, pushing the two women together and further into the sitting room.
"Dominique, Mother, stay here. Cadmus and I will see what is the matter," said Ignotus.
He and his brother ran to the door, opening it to a young man with brown hair. It had a braid in the front and was pinned back; his forehead was coated in sweat, and he dabbed at it as the door was flung open.
"Cadmus! Ignotus! You must come quick."
"Calm down. What is it, Edmund?"
"I am afraid it is Antioch," the young man answered.
At the sound of their brother's name, Ignotus and Cadmus looked to one another and immediately knew they had to go to their brother's aide. Cadmus held the door open for Edmund to briefly step inside. Eirene gasped and clasped her hands to her mouth in shock, horror, and worry for her eldest son. Cadmus grabbed his cloak and swung it over his shoulders. He shouted to Eirene.
"Mother, watch after Tyrion!"
"What has happened? Is Antioch all right?"
"I don't know! There was a fight at the pub last night. I have heard some terrible things. You must come," Edmund said.
Ignotus nodded, knowing he and Cadmus had to leave to help their brother. He ran to Dominique, grasping her shoulders. "I have to find my brother. Stay here with my mother."
"But - "
"Do as I say!" Ignotus shouted, and he turned from her.
He tied his cloak about his neck, fastening his sword there, and he followed Edmund and his brother out of the house. They mounted their horses and took off at a dead sprint throughout Godric's Hollow. They caught the eye of everyone outside; their speed was clearly that of great urgency. The brothers could not pay them any mind, though. Their brother was of great importance to them, and if Edmund had come to fetch them from their house, clearly it was important.
Antioch lived in a village not far away, but it was a long enough ride to put Antioch's life on the line if he was hurt.
Ignotus kicked his heels into his horse, coming beside Edmund's side. He asked with a shout, the clattering of the horse's hoofs and the wind rushing by making it difficult to hear. "Edmund! Do you know what has happened?"
"I was in Hertfordshire this morning, and there were people gathered outside Antioch's home. People were saying things. I did not wait any longer to find out what had happened. I came to get the two of you," answered Edmund.
They bolted out of Godric's Hollow and across the plain to the small village across the way, Hertforshire. When they entered, the three of them could tell that there was a commotion throughout the village. The townspeople were gathered in the streets, muttering in horror. Women were crying and shrieking; children whispered in shock and confusion. Upon their arrival, the whispers grew as they recognized the two brothers of Antioch Peverell.
The looks they received made Ignotus worried. He could feel his heart beating wildly in his chest, the heat rising to his cheeks as he wished for only his eldest brother's safety. Cadmus looked to him, saw his fear, and nodded to him in a reassuring way. "He will be fine, Ignotus. He will be fine."
With the cluttered streets, they could not pass through at a sprint, but luckily they reached Antioch's house soon. Like Cadmus' and Ignotus', it was one of the larger houses in the village. They came to a stop, recognizing a few of Antioch's friends outside of the home. Ignotus jumped off his horse, immediately making his way for the door of his brother's home.
"Ignotus. You do not...You do not want to see," said the tall man, placing his hand out on Ignotus' chest to steady him.
"No! I must see him!" roared Ignotus, shoving the man out of his path.
"It is of no use, my Lord!"
Ignotus did not listen. Instead, he pushed his way through the crowded street, past Antioch's quiet friends who averted their gaze from him, and through the front door. Blood immediately filled his vision. It was in puddles on the wooden floor, leaving a trail from the door and deeper into the house. Frightened, Ignotus followed the thick trail of blood. It led to his brother's bedroom. Uneasily, Ignotus raised his hand. It took him a few moments to gain the courage to open the door. He was frightened for what he might see, but he eventually pushed the door open.
It swung fully open with one easy swing, and Ignotus gasped in horror at the sight. He covered his mouth, tears filling his eyes. He nearly fell over, but steadied himself and ran to his brother's side.
"NO! Antioch!" Ignotus shouted. "You are not dead! You are not!"
Cadmus was suddenly behind him, squeezing his neck in reassurance. "I-Ignotus, there is nothing we can do."
"NO! He cannot be dead! He cannot!"
But he was. No matter what Ignotus could say or do, the gaping slit in his throat was proof that Anticoh Peverell was dead.