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The Hogwarts Four: The Guild Wars by NTSDHogwartsFour
Chapter 11 : Chapter Eight: The Fall of Falcon Company Pt. 2
 
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Author's Note: Please forgive us for having to break the chapter into two pieces...again. We hope you like the continuation of the chapter and continue to read as we work to get Chapter 9 churned out. Yes, Hufflepuff, that means type faster. Put down Diablo 3 and get to work. Hufflepuffs... Enjoy and please to recall that author's do thrive on feedback so please tell us what you think, even if you just want to complain about your day. We respond to everyone as quickly as we can. 

Chapter Eight: The Fall of Falcon Company Pt. 2 

Their return to Divinity’s Reach was subdued, none of them willing to talk even as Glinda side-along apparated Harley as the boy was unable to do it himself. Immediately upon reaching Ravenclaw Tower, the girls separated to their usual rooms while the boys did the same. None of them would be alone for a while if Glinda had anything to say about it...this particular development had blindsided even her Sight and not knowing something or having some sort of idea of what was coming never sat very well with her.

Unfortunately for Harley, the blond wasn’t allowed much time to rest and recuperate. Talon and Cerise both sat on the edge of his bed, garbed in their full armor. Cerise was slowly and carefully cleaning her blade while Talon was reading one of Harley’s books on the Dwarven language.

Taking deep  breaths to keep himself calm, Harley tried to focus his eyes on what was in front of him. He had been grateful Glinda had decided to just have them all apparate instead of having him try to find out how to make this new vision work. “What is it, Talon? Sorry, hello Cerise…” It had taken him a moment to remember his manners but thankfully Cerise wasn’t holding it against him as she inclined her brown-haired head, a sympathetic smile on her pretty face.

“Hello, Harley. My sympathies for your losses since we have last seen each other. The world may be a bit less bright from their loss but the Halls of Lyssa and Balthazar both will rejoice at their arrival.” The loss of two talented Seraph was a blow to everyone but she did not want to think about what would happen to her if she had lost her sister...or gods forbid her fiance and sister within a week of each other? She’d probably be catatonic with grief. In her mind, this just cemented the strength of these four young adults. “I wish we were able to let you have time to mourn but the Master Exemplar is insistent that we show you what we have found…”

Shutting the thick tome in his hands quietly and ensuring he hadn’t upset Harley’s own place marker, Talon stood as he placed the book back in its usual place on his desk. “A look inside of the Shining Blade archives has given us an address for your parents’ last known residence, Harley. We wanted to give you time but…”

Harley rolled his shoulders carelessly, watching his two friends with the eyes of someone who was trying to bring themselves back from the brink of not caring. “Yea, Anise is very insistent when she has something she wants someone to know…Guess I don’t need to change out of this armor if we might be heading into hostile territory.” Plucking up a piece of parchment from his desk, he readied his quill before quickly penning out a note to his friends.

Hopefully Glinda and the others wouldn’t kill him for just writing out, “Kidnapped by Talon and Cerise, will be back later.” Pinning it carefully to his door, the blond gestured for the two Exemplars to lead the way. He could only hope that this wouldn’t take too terribly long...all he wanted was to sleep for a week at this point.

~

A country dirt road surrounded on both sides with trees, hills and caves...this did not scream ‘hideout’ to his mind. Then again he wasn’t used to being in an area labeled as a ‘safe house’ in an area that was rife with sunlight, moss and wild flowers.

There wasn’t much time for conversation once they stepped closer to the cave leading back out further into what appeared to be a house built into the dirt walls as ettins crawled out of the forest. The house itself was infested with spiders, including a very large one that made Harley’s skin crawl even after they got rid of the Kormir-damned thing. The more he stared at some of his surroundings, the more Harley realized what his sight was showing him.

The mist clouding his vision allowed him to see washed-out outlines of the people he would normally be able to view in full color. Was his sight changing to some sort of white-wash? Yet he could see some of the colors on the spiders and ettins they had beaten in shades of gray, black and mottled green. It didn’t make any sense…

Making their way further back into the hideout, Harley found destroyed belongings. The shattered remains of a bookshelf, a shredded roughspun cloth backpack...Was this where his parents had lived? Was this supposed to be where he should have grown up?

Two gravestones had been set in the back of the cave, careful carvings on the stone face bringing to mind the Ascalonian burial rites he and Ra had learned about at an early age. Both gravestones had a badger outlined on the stone with the words, “Honesty Faith Loyalty Diligence” in a perfect circle around the inscribed badger. Just below each of those was an inscription akin to an epitaph but Harley had to use his fingers to clear away the spiderwebs and clustered leaves off of its surface to read.

Over his shoulder he heard Cerise read out the inscription. “Three joys gave his life meaning: His wife, his country and above all, his child. May the Gods bless and protect our beloved Harley.” Harley felt his throat tightening for the second time that day, coughing softly before he tried clearing away the second stone as well. “Cherished Wife, Devoted Mother, Loyal Servant of Kryta. ‘Our life’s labor was to make a better world for the children to live in. May our beloved Harley find it so…”

Harley nearly jumped half a foot in the air when Talon’s hand landed on his shoulder, trying to offer what comfort he could to the kneeling blond. “It seems the White Mantle found your parents after all. I'm so sorry.”

“I...I never really wanted to think about them. The Ravenclaws were all the family I really needed. I always thought that if they had wanted me they wouldn’t have left me on the streets of Divinity’s Reach for the Ravenclaws to find…” Wiping away at his eyes once again, Harley inwardly cursed himself for being such a crybaby. He’d certainly earned Helena’s nickname now. “Do we know who placed these gravestones? Have you found any clues that would say…?”

Cerise shrugged her shoulders, sheathing her sword after cleaning it off on the nearby corpse of a spider. “Friends, perhaps? Fellow agents? We may never know. It was likely the same people who rescued you and took you to safety in Divinity’s Reach. It could have just been bad luck that they could have lost sight of you, gotten attacked and made you run and you don’t remember…” Always the logical one but ever-hopeful. It was what would make Cerise a fairly effective Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff if she ever made it to being sorted.

Standing up from his place in the dirt for the umpteenth time that day, Harley wrapped the two Exemplars into a tight hug. “Thank you both for finding this place. For telling me as much as you could. I finally know that my family didn’t give me up, they were trying to save me.” Just the thought of having grown up as a member of the Shining Blade was enough to give him nightmares.

“This was never just another mission, my friend. Helping you with this, finding these answers...they have been our pleasure.” Talon pulled back from the hug, straightening out his hair from where Harley’s chin had mussed up the usually slicked-back strands.

Feeling a little playful for the first time in hours, Harley let his hand come up and finished completely wrecked the careful job Talon had done of fixing his hair, letting the black strands come down into his face in an artful mess. “There.”

Cerise grinned, a soft snicker covered behind her hand. “The natural look is good on you, Talon. I’m sure Lady Gryffindor wouldn’t be able to keep her eyes off of you if you show up like that.”

The mention of Glinda Gryffindor put the fear of Balthazar into Talon’s boots. “Please do not remind me. I still have to figure out what to do for the date I asked her on when things have calmed down…” Talon was immediately stopped from making his way back to the front of the cave, the large hand on his shoulder no doubt belonging to Harley. Oh, wait, he hadn’t told Harley that he was going on a date with Glinda, had he? Well that was not going to end well.

“You finally asked her on a date and you didn’t tell me?” Harley asked, stepping to stand in front of his friend and beginning to walk backwards as he and Cerise made to leave the cave. Talon’s excuse of there being quite a lot of other drama going on was waved away as if it was inconsequential in Harley’s mind. Yes he was upset about many things right now but the happiness of his friends was always something he could concentrate on to cheer himself up. If his friends were happy, he was usually happy because of it. “You don’t know where to take her? Why not? It’s not like she’s difficult...Glinda’s just very...uh...special. And picky. And the most powerful woman in Kryta that isn’t a Queen.” The fact that Talon was slowly becoming paler and paler underneath that creamed-caramel tan skin was rather telling that Harley wasn’t being helpful. In the least. “I’m just joking, Talon. Just be honest, be yourself and let her experience new things or let her teach you something new.”

Taking on a thoughtful face, Harley absentmindedly chewed on his bottom lip. Glinda would smack him a good one if she could see him but he didn’t care right now about the damage it could cause his skin or how much she hated that habit. “There is a festival going in Divinity’s Reach. I don’t know how much longer it will be here but there’s also a Quidditch game at the beginning of the next week.”

Cerise blinked, raising an eyebrow at Harley. “What is ‘Quit-ditch’?”

That stopped Harley in his pace, almost tripping backwards over a root his boot was caught on until the both of them helped keep him upright. “What is...you don’t…” Flabbergasted. Shocked. “Don’t ever say that in front of Glinda. If you value your life, don’t do it. Actually, adding Selena and Ra to that list is also a safe bet for your continued sanity but Glinda’s the worst. Okay, whether Talon makes it part of the date or not, you’re coming to the Quidditch game with me, Cerise. Bring your fiance if you’d like, I’m sure you’ll love it.” He then spent the rest of the trip back to Divinity’s Reach explaining the game of Quidditch to his two friends.

Talon’s undying curiosity and Cerise’s disbelief of such a brutal game existing was entertainment in itself, distracting Harley from the stress of the day. Harley’s laughter died in his throat when he hit the house again, bringing the other two up short before putting a damper on their good cheer as well. They had hoped that making Harley laugh and making him concentrate on something other than the loss they had suffered recently would help the others as well...they could only hope it worked.

Now all that they could do was keep a watch on the four most powerful young adults in Kryta and make sure they didn’t blow up the world. For right now, tomorrow would take care of itself.


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