Chapter image by the ever dedicated and amazing, Anna_Black!
“What!?” Seethed Salazar, his eyes flashing dangerously as he finger his wand threateningly. “What do you mean the boy was not killed?”
“The boy has good riding skills, my Lord.” The Man whimpered as he glanced up at Salazar, not daring to stand up from his kneeling position. “His companions will do anything to keep him safe.”
“Get up.” He hissed at the Man, twitching his wand slightly.
Seeing the twitching of his wand, the Man jumped to his feet quickly, his eyes wide in fear as he waited for Salazar to speak. The Rider’s had known that Edward’s continuing existence would not please him. They knew the plan and the vital part Edward’s death played. The Man eyed Salazar’s wand as he calculated his chance’s of leaving the room unscathed and knew they were poor. His thoughts flashed to his family; his wife and two daughters, both of whom were under ten years. Both of whom would suffer worst.
Salazar glared at the man able to guess what he was thinking before his wand slashed through the air. A blindingly bright green light filled the room followed by a dull thud as the Man’s body slumped unscathed and unmoving to the floor.
Cursing loudly, he stormed out of the room, leaving the dead body lying there untouched. He stalked through the corridors of the building he had built in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, searching for something to take his mind off the glitch in the plan.
Suddenly an idea stuck him. An idea that, if it worked, would save them all a lot of hassle and Edward would no longer be a problem. He half walked half ran to the stables near the back of the building.
Quickly, he prepared his horse for a long journey, wondering if his horse would splinch whenever the time came for the need to apparate. Salazar called for assistance and three servants quickly ran over to him, waiting for his order. They, too, were only serving Salazar for the sake of their family and homelands but appreciated the fact that they were treated well and were not tortured like so many others.
“Get the kitchen people to prepare enough food to last for longer than a week.” He ordered loudly, watching as the servants nodded and hurried off towards the building.
Once everything was ready; his horse, his food and, of course, himself, Salazar mounted his horse. “You are to keep the Manor tidy and maintained. If any fights ensue I give you permission to lock the culprits into the dungeons, how long they stay there depends on the level of their disruption. If I come back and the Manor is not how it is now, I shall not be happy. On your head’s be it.”
He jabbed his heel into the horse’s side and it galloped off at full speed.
Freya and Scarlet quickly made their way down to the Entrance Hall, where they paused, gazing out of a near-by window. The scenes here were so different to where they were from – they found it uncomfortable but their curiosity got the better of them.
“Beautiful.” Scarlet muttered quietly, the weight in her stomach was noticeably heavier now. She had no idea how Freya would take this. She was the only one who didn’t know what was going on, she would be thrown into it with no consideration for her feelings. It was what she had to do her whole life but this, in Scarlet’s eyes, was pushing the boundaries.
“Not as beautiful as home.” Freya added equally as quietly; an obvious longing in her voice. It was clear that she missed her homelands and her family but she put everyone else before her and left herself to last.
“Of course.” Scarlet said with a nod of her head as the doors of the Great Hall opened with a loud creaking noise. The two Elves turned to look at the doors and Freya counted how many shadows she could see. 1, 2, 3… The founders, she thought but she frowned as soon as she saw four more shadows making eight in total. Looking to Scarlet, she threw her a cautious and confused look.
Scarlet was instantly by Freya, standing slightly infront of her. She knew the look on her face – when she was worried and didn’t like not knowing what was coming towards her she was, usually, in the know. Finally Godric, Rowena and Helga emerged and stood in the Entrance Hall a short distance from the Elves.
“I hope you have had a comfortable night.” Rowena said quietly with a small, happy smile. It was clear to see that she was more than happy about Freya and Scarlet being in Ravenclaw, if anything she was quite smug about it.
“We did, thank you.” Freya answered now stepping around Scarlet so that they were side to side, although her eyes were still wary looking to the four figures that stood behind the Founders. “I hope your night was equally as comfortable.”
“It was thank you.” Said Godric with a warm, appreciative smile before he looked to Rowena and Helga. “Now, My Lady-…”
“Freya. Call me Freya, please.” She insisted with a smile after she had glanced to Scarlet with strange look in her eyes.
“Freya,” Godric corrected with a low bow. “You know that we are all here to unite each race to overcome those who are opposing us. Those who have fuelled war and hatred.” His words echoed in the Hall, making them sound darker than they were.
“Yes…” Freya said cautiously with a confused but curious expression. “Of course I don’t understand what that has to do with…”
Rowena held a hand, silencing Freya instantly although Scarlet threw the Founder a dirty look – if they were in their homelands Freya would not be treated as she was and she would be able to finish off a sentence. The heavy feeling in her stomach grew. She’s going to be told, Scarlet told herself, closing her eyes briefly before they snapped open again as Rowena continued to talk. Her eyes focused on those behind the Founders and she instantly knew who they were before she turned her attention to the Founders again.
“Before you came here, you told your Father that you would do anything to rid our world of this war, is that correct?” Rowena asked seeking clarification.
“Yes, I did. I had no conditions. I want a peaceful world where different races must not hide and feel the need to carry weapons on them at all times due to fear of being attacked or something similar because of those who do not understand or hate, for some unknown reason, that particular race.”
“Good… And you know that, those who are mainly involved in this war are, embarrassingly Witchkind, Men… and Elves?” Rowena said before she smiled slightly at both the Elves nods. “You are prepared to do anything to unite us, Lady of the Night?”
The Elves’ eyes narrowed as the Founder used a phrase that was used to describe the Elf princess; it was a phrase that no-one used due to the fact they felt it was insulting to their kind and to their beloved Royal Family. “I do, yes. Although myself and those I rule over have nothing against Witchkind or Men. I am.” Answered Freya eventually her voice cool but calm.
“Brilliant!” Helga burst out with a happy clap of her hands. “That is fantastic.”
Godric could not help laughing at Helga’s outburst but the look Rowena flashed in his direction silenced him. Rowena was not one to cross when she was ever-so serious about something – especially something as important as this.
“As…regrettable as this is,” Rowena continued turning her attention back to the Lady of the Night, “You must marry one who has been chosen by their own kind to unite both your race and his, to show those who oppose us that nothing is going to stand in our way and that we shall sacrifice our needs for the needs of our kind. It is also showing that we can love whoever and that their race is not
She put extra emphasise on the word ‘not’ and all who were standing there knew why. For millions of years there had been disagreements and hatred between Elves and Dwarves and all knew of this due to the few small battles that were waged between the races in their history. Most of these battles commenced due to Dwarves mining in mountains that Elves inhabited but other battles were due to Elves inhabiting mountains that the Dwarves had mined in.
Freya however did not hear the jibe at the disagreement between Elves and Dwarves. Her mind was still processing the fact she must marry someone she had never met – who could be of any race – but she did not understand how that would help. It would not stop the war. Oh but it will unite two races and then, together, they would, hopefully, be strong enough to destroy Salazar and his minions.
Due to his incredibly fast horse – helped by many spells, one of which increase the speed of an object by vast amount – Salazar had reached the edge of Ireland in just under four hours. He was delighted by this as it meant his plan would be in action sooner and the Founder’s plan would fail and he would rule. Deciding that, as he was ahead of schedule, he would rest for a while and eat and drink.
He dismounted his horse, tying it to a fence that bordered the beach he was at before he took out some of the food he had had prepared for his journey. He quickly took huge bites out of a loaf of bread before washing it down with some sweet, red wine. He thought that he show intake the wine now, while he could as he could not risk drinking any at a later date when things would be much more complicated and he would need to be especially careful. After a half hour of sleep he got to his feet and quickly untied his horse before leading it into the shallow water.
He apparated; his horse neighed in discomfort as they reappeared on a Scottish beach. Rolling his eyes he quickly mounted his horse and kicked its sides causing it to gallop of at an average speed before Salazar pulled out his wand and used the spells he had used previously, his horse now speeding up at an in-animal speed.
“My lady?” Scarlet asked for the third time now as she placed her hand on Freya’s shoulder, gazing into her face with a worried expression. “My lady, are you alright?”
Finally getting back to reality Freya blinked a few times before she nodded, “Yes, yes I’m fine. I was just thinking.”
“Edward, come forward!” Rowena called moving out of the way along with the other Founders, finally exposing the four figures behind them.
Scarlet’s eyes darted to the one she knew to be Edward and she studied him carefully. He was nothing special, nothing special at all. He seemed like a peasant by the clothes he wore but of course he wasn’t as he was the son of Lord Hadrian.
Three of the four men stood slightly behind the fourth, making it clear that they were only his followers and that the man standing forward was Edward.
“My Lady,” Edward said nervously, his voice shaking slightly as his bowed low before looking up. “It is an honour.”
Freya looked to Scarlet before she nodded with a small, embarrassed smile on her face. “It is an honour to meet you, Edward.”
Edward instantly straightened up and everyone was awkward. What am I supposed to say to this man? thought Freya as she looked to Scarlet, biting her lip slightly.
“You are to wed within a week.” Rowena announced making Freya’s jaw drop.
“A week?” She asked flabbergasted. “I have only met this man today and you wish me to marry him within a week!?”
“Yes, I’m afraid so.” Helga said before Rowena could say anything else. Helga was much gentler than Rowena when it came to things like this – Rowena wasn’t one to understand falling in love or anything similar to it. “But, Fre- My Lady, there is actually more we must ask of you…” Her tone was apologetic and that made Freya feel slightly better but she was dreading what she was about to be told.
Edward stood with a blank expression on his face as the Founders and the Lady of the Night spoke. He was expecting this sort of reaction but he assumed she would have had some sort of clue about the events she would have to participate in.
“You must also…carry an heir, My Lady.” Godric said slowly and carefully in the same apologetic tone as Helga. “It is what’s best. If you produce a half-human, half-elf child things will be united. And, as far as we Witchkind know, and Elvish birth does not take 9 months, correct?”
Scarlet closed her eyes tightly at Godric’s words. A baby, she thought, Freya must get herself pregnant with a Man she did not know nor love. The weight in her stomach felt like the heaviest thing imaginable and she felt that if they were to drop her into the Lake, they would watch her sink to the bottom.
“No, no… It takes a very short time.” Freya managed to say with an alarmed expression and tone. “It will only unite two races; I do not understand how that will reunite us with the remaining races.”
“Well, of course, most of Witchkind are still united with you, so we are on you’re side and, once…the wedding and whatnot takes place Men and Elves will be properly united and then we shall have to convince the likes of Dwarves and the Merfolk of the near-by seas.” Godric told her, rambling ever so slightly.
Freya and Edward nodded at his words. “That makes sense.” They said at the same time before looking to each other with surprised expressions.
Well, at least we’re thinking along the same lines, that should help things, I hope, Freya thought as she smiled a little at Edward, who returned the smile hesitantly.