Chapter 1 : Prologue
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Just outside of the ruins, Abner stopped and held his arm out to his wife, gently turning her to face him. He looked at the woman in his arms but was unable to speak. They had been on missions before, but none like this. She raised her hand to his face and cupped his chin in her hand. Even in the presence of magic so powerful, they were only captivated by each other as they gazed deeply into each other’s eyes.
“What is it Abner?” Edona whispered.
“Nothing, probably nothing,” Abner spoke back. He sighed, looking away up at the night sky.
“Dammit Edona”, Abner spoke as his hands moved down from her arms quickly and turned into fists. “I love you.”
He reached up and shook her desperately, as if trying to show her the depths of his feelings. “I love you,” He whispered and drew her towards him kissing her passionately on the lips.
Edona kissed him back before pulling away to look up at him.“I know,” she said, her smile sad with regret. “I love you too.”
Abner nodded, a flicker of doubt crossed his features that was soon replaced with calm indifference to their mission ahead. The mission had been planned for months. They both knew so much could go wrong, that so much was on the line…but it was too late to turn back. Too much was at stake.
Both Abner and his wife Edona were Knights, a group intent on restoring the wizarding world to it’s former glory. The group was formed a few years after the Battle of Hogwarts and was comprised mostly of former death eaters. The few that could not directly be linked with Lord Voldemort remained in England and the rest, Dolohov, Rowle and Travers, fled to Albania to avoid capture.
As they stepped into the clearing, they could see the ruins of Apollonia that shone brightly against the dark night sky. Illuminated in its presence were two cloaked figures standing and waiting for the Travers. With their emotions masked, the Travers stepped into the light and sealed their fates.
Abner apparated back home to find Lorette sitting by the hearth waiting up for them. He shook his head as if trying to shake away the demons that were invading his thoughts. It seemed surreal that their child’s nanny could still be alive and not know what had happened just seconds before in the clearing.
Edona. Edona was gone.
Abner wanted to blow up the house, wanted to kill the entire village, wanted to kill himself…anything to change what had happened. Anything to bring his love back to life…
He was pulled from his anguish when he hear a gasp from Lorette. Her eyes darted from him to the top of the stairs and back to him as if questioning him what he wanted her to do. He followed her eyes towards the stairs until they fell on his daughter.
His eyes teared up as he looked at his daughter, Isabelle. Even though she was only six, she was a rare beauty and a spitting image of her mother with her long dark hair, pale skin and piercing blue eyes. It took seeing her for him to snap out his trance and realize what he had to do.
“Lorette,” he said, never taking his eyes off his daughter’s small form. “Leave us, I need to speak with my daughter.” Abner moved over to the settee and patted the seat next to him, gesturing his daughter to come and sit. Lorette glanced worriedly at his tone of voice and scurried off into the kitchen to make tea.
He struggled with words. How do you tell your only child that her mother is gone, that her mother is never coming home.
Isabelle seemed to sense something was wrong and put her small hand in her fathers. “Father, what’s wrong?…Where’s mother?” The last question was said in a whisper as though the child were afraid to know the answer.
“I’m sorry Isa…,” Abner paused and closed his eyes taking a deep breath before continuing on. “Your mother is gone, gone someplace happier where nothing can hurt her.” He turned to look at his daughter and his anguish was renewed. She was white as a sheet and her blue eyes where puddles of tears.
Then Isabelle did the one thing Abner knew she would. She was her mother’s daughter after all and wanted an answer for everything. She asked him what happened, why her mother was dead. ‘Why?’ She screamed at him. A child who had never before dared to raise her voice to him. And he could give her no answers.
The child had been uncontrollable with her grief but as much as Abner wanted to give her time to cope he realized her safety would have to come first. He sent Isabelle to her room to pack knowing that he would just do it for her himself anyway. He needed one last moment alone in their home.
He took in the house that had been their home for the last six years. The light daffodil colored walls Edona had insisted on and the emerald green settee he had bought when they were first married. The Slytherin and Travers coat of arms hung on the mantle above the fireplace and pictures of the family were in frames carefully dusted every day by Edona. He took it all in then went into the kitchen.
It was regrettable what he was about to do. Lorette had been a faithful servant…but now she was a liability and the only person able to identify Isabelle as a Travers.
A green glow emitted from his wand as a surprised Lorette dropped the tea cups and fell lifeless to the floor.
The glow from the emerald locket that had served as their portkey to London faded and the metal grew cold to touch. Abner took the locket, gently clasping it around Isabelle’s neck. The child still refused to look at him and it broke his heart a little more. He could only hope he’d see Isa again, to explain everything. But for now, he had to make sure she was protected.
They stood in front of a tall, grey stoned building. The lettering was old and worn and spelled out ‘St. Jude’s Orphanage.’
Abner sighed and knelt down so he was eye to eye with his daughter. “I have to go away Isa but I’ll be back.” He grasped her thin shoulders firmly. “I promise I’ll come back for you.”
Isabelle looked at her father and looked away again. Abner could sense that she was biting back words she wanted to scream at him.
“Isa, please look at me…I don’t have much time. Isa…please, look at me.” Abner was practically pleading with his daughter and at long last she turned to face him.
“You are to go by the name of Isabelle Besin. No one, and I mean no one can know you’re a Travers. Not until I come back for you.”
“But father!” Isabelle proclaimed. The thought of losing her mother, father home and now having to change her name was becoming too much to handle for the young girl.
“Only for a little while..” Abner struggled with how much to tell his daughter. “Promise me you won’t tell anyone who you are. It’s important. Promise Isa!”
“I promise.” Isabelle whispered and with a sudden understanding that her father was leaving for an indefinite period of time she abandoned her anger towards him and flew into his arms. Abner held his daughter and kissed her on top of her head gently. After a few minutes, he pried her small arms off him and took one final look at his daughter prolonging the moment as long as he could.
“Always remember you’re a Travers,” said Abner and with a small crack, he was gone.
Back in Albania, muggles didn’t know what to make of the strange red markings on the ancient ruins of Apollonia. Many claimed it was vandalism, others claimed it was a message from the Greek Gods. Whatever it was, it wasn’t budging. Nothing the city officials tried would remove the markings so eventually they gave up and closed off the area to the public.
Still, people came from all around to look at the mysterious symbols. From what researchers could tell, it was from no known language. It’s very presence was a mystery that wasn’t about to be solved any time soon. The only lead they had was from a drunk homeless man who was wandering through the woods by the ruins the night the markings showed up.
He claimed he heard chanting and that the markings ‘magically appeared’ on the walls. The next thing he knew, the figures were using the sticks held in their hands to throw sparks at one another. The sparks looked like fireworks and one hit one of the smaller figures forcing them to the ground. There was more fighting and eventually two of the figures disappeared into thin air.
This, of course, was just drunk ramblings from a homeless man. No one paid much attention to it and his record was filed away in a dusty police folder. For the time being, the mysterious symbols were forgotten and the ruins of Apollonia remained closed to the public.