Chapter 1 : Prologue
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The darkness hindered my vision but I didn’t need any source of light to know which direction I was going. I had this route completely mapped out inside my head, due to my constant use of it. I knew that if I took a sharp left turn now, I would have crashed straight into a tree. I knew that if I moved two inches to my right, my toe would have collided with a large rock causing me to trip and fall straight onto my face. I often took this route when I craved some solitude, a chance to be alone with my thoughts. I would have preferred to take this trip during the day but unfortunately I could never squeeze it in so night time would just have to do.
Werid, I know. But it really, really helps.
The soft crashing of waves hinted that I was nearing the lake and they grew louder with every yard I walked. I never found this short journey to be creepy, despite the darkness, quietness, emptiness and just the general eeriness. This wasn’t the first time nor was it my last time to walk this familiar path. I set off as soon as the clock stroke midnight. I knew that by that time the girls in my dormitory were fast asleep, the professors were either asleep or still up grading papers and Filch had long finished his night time patrols and was now snuggled up under his covers with Mrs Norris.
It wasn’t long before I reached the shore of the Black Lake, the noise of the waves rolling and crashing breaking the silence and giving me a small sense of reassurance. I was surprised that the surface hadn’t frozen over because it was truthfully freezing. I took a seat on the damp, wet grass and tucked my knees close to my body, soaking up every particle of heat I could get. I leaned my cheek against my knee and heaved a large sigh, the heat from my breath visible. When I was younger, my sister and I would breathe out through our noses and pretended we were like the dragons in the tales we used to be told every night.
A small ache formed in my chest as I thought about the fond memory and how things have changed. Both of us grew up too fast.
I unwrapped my arms from around my legs and laid them in my lap. Even though the night was pitch black, the silver still glinted as if a beacon of light was being shone down on it. I stared at the ring on my finger. I thought it strange how such a little object had the power to tie one person to another person and ensure a lifelong commitment for both. I twisted the ring around my finger and I could just about make out the engraved phrase on the metal.
It all happened so suddenly. When the ring was slid onto my finger, it was as if I had aged years within that second. One minute I’m five years old and playing hide and go seek with my older sister and the next minute I was to be married.
At age seventeen, I was arranged to marry Regulus Black. Arranged marriages are very common in the wizarding society, especially among pureblood families. It wasn’t long until that ring was perched on my finger and the date for my wedding was decided and every single invitation was sent out. I was to be married on the 2nd July, in seven months’ time to Regulus Black. I had never really spoken to Regulus much beforehand. I was Potions partners with him for a while back in fifth year but the only words he really spoke to me was “Lydia, chop faster” or “you’re supposed to grate it, not chop it”. I did see him frequently because after all he was in the same year and house as me and we had the majority of classes together.
One of his friends was going out with one of my friends so every now and again our two groups would mix but we only engaged in conversation about four or five times and those conversations were always very short. From what I gathered from our brief talks, Regulus was very intelligent. Wisdom seemed to drip off each word he spoke and it sometimes left me wondering how such a handsome face could utter such words. Usually handsome heads were filled with sawdust, but not Regulus’.
Regulus was very handsome, there was no denying that. His eyes were a fascinating shade of grey, similar to the colour of the sky just before a storm erupts. I was intrigued when I first noticed his eye colour. I had definitely seen blue-grey eyes but never any the colour of Regulus’. His eye colour was almost silver. His hair was jet black and always had a bright shine to it, whether light was shining on it or not. It curled at his temples and towards the nape of his neck and would often flop down into his grey eyes.
Regulus didn’t possess the pale, bloodless skin that his older brother and cousins had, he was tan and his skin always appeared sun -kissed, as if he had spent hours outside in the sun.
When I was younger I always fantasised about my wedding and it felt strange and somewhat scary that that event was approaching very quickly. I dreamed of falling in love with a Prince Charming, a man who would hold an umbrella up high over my head during a heavy fall of rain, who would answer my calls in the darkness and a man whose arms I could just collapse into after having a long, hard day.
Strange, isn't it? How you can believe in anything and everything when you're little.
I slipped the ring off my finger and held in the centre of my palm. It was a beautiful piece of jewellery, with its sterling silver band with the Black Family motto carved along the curve and its delicate yet stunning diamond sitting nicely on top. I clenched my hand into a fist and a small pain shot through my whole hand as the rough cut of the diamond scraped against my frostbitten skin.
I got a sudden urge to fling the ring straight into the lake. It was a little bit like standing on the edge of a cliff with a sheer drop and having the strange urge to jump off, just to see what would happen when you reached the ground below.
But I didn’t. I wasn’t a fool.
Not too long ago, my mother sat me down, looked me dead in the eye and told me just how important my marriage is to Regulus and how it would help our family. She also made me promise something to her; something that would place an enormous burden on my shoulders.
And I was never one to break my promises.
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