I hope you enjoy this chapter focusing on Cora. :)
Cora found herself in the guest quarters of the Citadel. After feeling utterly ridiculous, she insisted that Faramir put her down and was now perfectly capable of walking on her own. He complied, but still offered his arm, and she graciously accepted it. She was charmed with the chivalry she found in Faramir, but she also reminded herself that not all were as kind as he.
Faramir had told her that there were seven levels to the city and each had its own gate protecting it. He then explained how Minas Tirith had originally been built to protect the city Osgiliath, but then it became the capital after the city fell into ruin after a plague had ravaged the city.
After he had led her to her rooms, she decided to explore it. She had found some books and to her relief her fear that they would be in some foreign language was proven false. Although she had some slight problems with reading the flowy script of the scribe that had written it.
She walked out onto the balcony and the view she saw was horrifying yet strangely beautiful. The landscape around Minas Tirith was beautiful, but in the distance the clouds grew dark, almost black in color and she heard distant rumblings from that direction. There was even a volcano and it appeared to be active, with smoke rising out of it. The one thing she didn't understand was that it had a sense of evil permeating from it. What was that place?
A knock on her door interrupted her thoughts.
"Enter," she said and watched Faramir walk in with whom she presumed to be Gandalf the Grey.
"Lord Faramir told me you may be of assistance to me, Gandalf the Grey. Does he speak the truth?" she asked, taking note of his walking staff. She felt power emanate from it. How odd.
"I may be able to answer some questions of yours, Cora Black," Gandalf stated simply.
She wondered how he knew her last name, as she had only told Faramir her first name.
"I will leave you two to talk privately," Faramir said.
"You can stay if you wish, Lord Faramir," Cora said. "It would probably be a good idea for you to be fully informed of my situation," she continued.
"Of course, my lady," he said.
"Lord Faramir said you're a witch," Gandalf said as he and Faramir sat down.
"Yes, I am, but I have a feeling you already knew this," she said as she went over to the desk and picked up her wand. Turning back to face them again, she stared at Gandalf's staff.
"That's no ordinary walking stick, is it? I feel the power radiating from it," she said.
Gandalf nodded in confirmation.
The fire in the hearth was dying down and without a thought, Cora muttered a spell that regenerated the fire. Gandalf didn't even blink at the use of magic, but Faramir was stunned by it.
"Why am I here, Gandalf?" she asked.
"I do not know why you and your siblings are here, Cora, but I do know you will be useful in the times ahead," he said.
"James? Arlena? They're here? Where?" she asked quickly.
"James is among the Elves in Rivendell and Arlena is in Rohan amongst the Horse Lords of King Théoden. They, too, will prove useful," he explained.
"Whatever for?" she asked confused.
He annoyingly reminded her of Dumbledore with his vagueness.
"Dark times are fast approaching, Cora. I know you are all too familiar with times such as these, as well as your siblings. Your experience and abilities will be helpful," Gandalf said, being still vague.
Cora stood there with her mouth open, "How do you know of my past?"
"I know many things I should not, as you will surely learn. Faramir, have you informed your father of Cora's presence?"
Faramir nodded, "As well as Boromir."
Cora noticed Gandalf's nose slightly scrunch up in distaste when he mentioned the name Boromir. She wondered why, but decided not to ask.
"Make sure you stay on Denethor's good side, Cora. Women's opinions are not as highly thought of as in your time. It would not bode well to have you kicked out of the Citadel," Gandalf said as he stood up.
"I must take leave, but know that our paths will cross again. Until we meet again," he said as he bowed his head in respect. He said his good-byes to Faramir.
"Remember what I said, Faramir," Gandalf said before he promptly left.
Confused, Cora stood up from her chair and walked about the room, unable to withstand the intense gaze Faramir was giving her.
"You wish to know of my past, don't you?" she asked bluntly. She realized she would have to tell someone about it sooner or later.
"I know it is not my place to ask, but I will admit that I am curious," he said sheepishly.
She sighed, "Where I come from, there was a war three years ago. A wizarding war to be exact," she started.
"There was one wizard, a very powerful one, that sought to take over the entire wizarding world and ride it of Muggle-born witches and wizards. Muggle-borns are witches or wizards that are born to non-magical families," she explained.
She began to walk out onto the balcony, inexplicably drawn to the landscape before her. She heard Faramir following her.
"It was a very bloody and destructive war. We did not use weapons like swords or bows, our wands were our weapons," holding her wand out to Faramir so he could examine it.
He stared at it reluctantly.
"Do not worry, Faramir. It will be useless in your hands," she quickly explained.
He took it and examined it. How could an entire war be conducted with only intricately designed pieces of wood?
"Words can be far more dangerous than swords, Faramir," she said.
"How so?" he questioned.
"I can make someone be completely under my control with one word, bidding them to do what I please. I can torture someone to insanity by uttering a word. I can end life with just two words," she said deathly quiet.
"Just by using this?" Faramir asked in awe.
She nodded, "Those spells are called the Unforgivable Curses because that is what they are - unforgivable."
"The Imperious Curse, The Cruciatus Curse, and The Killing Curse. For all of them, you really need to mean it," she said. Faramir could tell she was thinking about something that had happened in her past.
"What do you mean?"
"For the Cruciatus Curse, or any of the others for that matter, to be effective, the castor of the spell must really want to cause pain to their victim," she said.
"Have you used any of them?"
"They're dark magic, Faramir," she stated. The way she avoided his question, however, made him believe she had.
"That may be so, but you never answered my question," he returned.
She remained silent for awhile.
"They were torturing my cousin," she whispered. "She had been a double agent for the Order, to infiltrate the enemies' inner circle. She was successful, until the Final Battle when she openly fought for the Light instead of the Dark."
"A couple of the enemy surrounded her, and instead of killing her, they tortured her. They were using spells on her that I couldn't even fathom possible at the time. I was so angry and scared at the time, I don't know how I did it."
"Did what?" he asked quietly.
"I managed to stun the two Death Eaters that were watching the torture, and before I realized what I was doing, I had screamed Crucio, and he was on the ground writhing in pain," she whispered, her eyes welling up with tears.
"Many lives were lost during the war, a majority of them were friends of mine," she turned to look at him, pretending the tears that were threatening to fall were not there.
A gentle breeze swept a strand of her long black hair into her eyes and she made to move it away. Faramir beat her to it, tucking the strand behind her ear.
Faramir blinked and quickly moved his hand away.
"Please forgive me, my lady. I do not know what overcame me," he said quickly, hoping she would not be upset.
She looked at him and smiled a little, "There is nothing to forgive, Faramir. Your touch has brought comfort to me when I needed reminding that there still is good in humanity."
She didn't understand the feelings she was currently experiencing or why he had just touched her, but he was her only friend in this world and she did not want it to be an awkward friendship.
He nodded his head in acknowledgement.
"My father, the Steward, and my brother Boromir, are very much interested in meeting you. You have been invited to dine with us," he said, quickly moving onto a new subject.
"Of course, but there is just one problem with that," Cora said.
"I don't know where dinner shall be taking place, therefore I will get thoroughly lost," she said smiling.
He returned the smile, "Either my brother or I shall escort you down to dinner. In the mean time, I'll arrange for a seamstress to visit you to take your measurements so more clothes can be made for you."
"Thank you, Faramir," she said.
"It is no trouble at all, my lady," he said, bowing to her before leaving.
She waited a couple seconds after he closed the door shut before she collapsed onto her bed.
"What in Merlin's name just happened?" she said aloud, bewildered by her encounter with Faramir.
A.N: Next Chapter is about Arlena. Feedback is always, always, ALWAYS appreciated! :)