Chapter 1 - Sorceress
A girl in her mid teens looked out the window of her train compartment to see and orangey scenery fly by. Letting out a small sigh, she turned back to the book small book in her hand. It was filled with strange inscriptions that swirled and seemed to connect from one to another, but she read with ease.
After what seemed like endless hours of reading, she turned her attention back to the outside of the compartment window to find the sky a mysterious dark, dark indigo. There was a small glow on the horizon, which steadily grew larger as the train headed its direction, and not long after, a humongous castle was in full view, its grey stone walls giving of a strange, yet welcoming glow.
She closed her book as a small smile crept onto her lips.
Four seventeen-year-old boys sat down at the table for the first dinner of their last year at Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They were the ones who usually got the attention, but tonight was a night attention was drawn elsewhere: the other end of their long dining table, to be exact.
"What's all the commotion over there about?" a very bored, dark haired boy asked no one in particular.
"There's a transfer student." Two dark heads turned to one with shaggy brown hair but his was shaking his head in response to their silent question. Then they all three turned to the speaker, a mousy, chubby, sandy-blonde boy.
Now it was unusual for Peter Pettigrew to answer a question so confidently and sensibly. The two dark-haired boys were surprise, while the brunette was impressed. However, the mousy boy's accomplishment was quickly forgotten as the small crowd dispersed and a thin and stern-looking professor by the name of Minerva McGonagall, a tall skinny woman with dark coloured hair pulled tightly back into a neat bun, all hidden under a large and black, pointed hat and its equally large rim, led in the year's batch of first-years towards the front of the room for the sorting procession. The first years mainly consisted of nervous looking eleven-year-olds, keeping close together as if to stray meant the worst fate imaginable. One Sirius Black turned to watch as they made their way up to the front of the hall, where a worn, patchy, black witch's hat awaited them a wooden stool at the centre. He felt briefly nostalgic as he thought of when he was in their place just six years earlier. He had been so nervous for a particular reason although his parents had assured him that he would get into the same house as the rest of his family before him.
Each of the four tables— Gryffindor, HufflePuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin, cheered for every new member to their house. The rigid teacher once again parted her thin lips to call out another student's name. Sirius watched as a scrawny little boy, no taller than the professor's waist, scrambled to the stool and placed himself upon it. He fidgeted his fingers nervously as the professor placed the hat on his neatly combed copper hair. As Sirius watched the boy he faintly remembered what it was like with the hat's voice muttering inside his head. It was muttering things he had never wanted to hear back then, though he was monsterous glad of the house he was sorted in, even more so after making further aquaintance with his now best friends. He gave a quick glance at them. The rest of the Marauders had all been talking quietly to each other as they ignored the whole procession like they did every year after their first.
After what seemed like an eon, the hat finally hollered a name of one of the four houses. The little boy quickly jumped up to his feet the moment the hat left his head and was once again in the possession of Professor McGonagall, a huge grin plastered on his face as he trotted merrily towards the spot at the Gryffindor table where the small crowd had previously gathered.
Finally, the last of the first years scuttled away to her house and Professor McGonagall grabbed the chair and hat and walked away briskly. Everyone was then quiet for the Head Master's yearly speech. Once that was over, a magnificent feast appeared before them and the students proceeded to indulge themselves with the luxury.
The small crowd had re-gathered there at the other end of their table. Sirius Black leaned out of his seat to try and see with his own eyes the focus of the crowd but could see no more than the back side of his fellow students' school robes. But a movement caught his grey eyes. The Transfiguration professor had gotten out of her seat at the teacher's table and was now marching towards the group of people, no doubt in his mind that the ever stern professor had every intention of disbanding them and sending them back to their seats. But as his eyes followed her, he found that not only were his assumptions wrong but what he saw was completely out of character. She pierced through the crowd without a word. Nonetheless, as Sirius observed, the students backed away from the intimidating professor.
McGonagall was talking to someone there, though he couldn't see who. The talk was brief, for, whoever the student was, he or she had gotten up very quickly. Sirius could see a fair, slender hand reaching out from behind the professor and ruffling something before it fell back towards whoever its owner was, and the professor was soon ushering that particular student out the hall, the nearby students watching the odd scene. Sirius could see no more than the professor's back, and as they turned at the grand doors, he glimpsed long black hair as it disappeared out the door. McGonagall was soon out of sight as well and the great oak doors closed shut.
A red-haired girl exhaustedly made her way up the stairs towards the girl's dormitory in the Gryffindor Tower. It was only the first night back and the Marauders had already caused some trouble; they had gotten into another argument with a former friend of hers who was in Slytherin, and the tiny argument had turned into a full-blown brawl. As Head Girl, she had to step in before it got brutal, because in the history of Hogwarts, every fight between a Gryffindor and a Slytherin turned brutal, and they always fought at every chance! This was especially true for the Marauders, particularly one James Potter, and Severus Snape, the tall lanky Slytherin who had been her best friend until the end of their fifth year when he had called her by a name she had most hated to hear: Mudblood.
She opened the door to the dorm room, which she had for the, past three and a half years, shared with two other girls, and in fond nostalgia for the two years before that, shared with three. Lily Evans looked at her four-poster bed and its crimson hangings.
"What the--- Who are you and what are you doing on my bed?" she asked with surprise looking at the stranger on seated so comfortably on her bed. The unfamiliar person was holding what looked like a large dog-eared, yellowing scrapbook upon one of her lap as her other leg was hanging off the bed edge. She lifted an accusing finger and pointed towards the intruder. Lily was horrified. "How in Merlin's name have you gotten that out of my trunk? No one knows how to open that part of my trunk! No one except---" She stopped mid-sentence, a realization had hit her like a brick.
On the neatly made bed before her sat a slender girl of undetermined height. Her Hogwarts girls' uniform was partially covered by the school's cloak, which hung from her shoulders and spread out behind her like a fan. Her gleaming badge and the red and gold neck tie definitely screamed Gryffindor. Fair skin contrasted the dark coloured robes, a pink tint in its creamy, soft-looking texture. Long black hair was pulled back loosely into a messy high ponytail by a large pin whose end looked like creamy crystallized flowers, the long fringe parted to one side with a clip that match the pin like a set. Those long silk threads cascaded down her back and shoulders, the huge locks at the end gracefully spilling all around her. A well-defined jaw and high cheekbones adorned her face. Her nose was straight and her thin eyebrows arched elegantly above her eyes, their large irises a captivating honey-brown that gave off a strange glint.
"No..." Lily gasped in disbelief.
The enchanting girl's soft, full, rosy-pink lips parted in a gentle smile, revealing a pair of oddly sharp canines, upsetting the otherwise beautifully straight and even, white teeth. This gave the soft demeanour a slight feral look.
"What is it Lily?" a roommate of the red head had asked from behind her, but the question went unnoticed as Lily squealed in delighted surprise and lunged at the beauty on her bed. They both fell back upon her bed with an ecstatic Lily on top. Two girls came into the room to observe the full scene of an overjoyed Lily crouching over a squashed body on the former's bed. There was a mess of black hair sprawled all over the bed, mingling with Lily's fiery-red locks. "Uh... Lily?" enquired the same voice, coming from a short girl with shoulder length blonde hair and sapphire-blue eyes. Her unblemished round face gave the impression of someone younger than she really was. She too was still in school robes like the other three in the room.
Lily had gotten up into a sitting position, still atop the other girl. "OH MY GOD! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!" she cried with glee. The other two girls moved to see Lily reach down and grabbed the other's cheeks, her thumbs pushing them to the sides of her face. "MERLIN! IS IT REALLY YOU?"
The girl underneath wiggled a bit. "No, I'm not Merlin, but if you don't get off me soon, Lily, I might just be meeting him soon because you're cutting the blood circulation to my legs!" she groaned though her voice still sounded silky and deep.
"Oh! So sorry!" Lily jumped up and to the side where she landed on the other's hair, earning her a small yelp of pain before she moved completely off the bed apologizing none stop.
The mysterious girl sat up and gathered her hair closer to herself so Lily could sit back on the bed. Lily was still apologizing. "Lily, stop apologizing!" Lily complied as the speaker rubbed her scalp where the lock of hair the former sat on was connected. "And I know you were surprised to see me and all, but you didn't have to jump me like that. A-a-ah-! And no more apologizing!" she warned before Lily could utter another word. "Sheesh, you're heavier than I remember..."
Ignoring the unintentionally rude comment, Lily peered into the other's eyes as if looking for answers to her burning questions. "M-?" her voice was now a bare whisper, stopping midway as if afraid to continue. The dark-haired girl nodded. "AHH! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! IT'S REALLY YOU!" she squealed once more, proceeding to tackle the now irritated girl with another oxygen-depriving hug. "I missed you so much! How come you're here? When did you get back? How come I didn't see you earlier? Why-"
"Lily! Stop!" the other managed to bring the excited red head to a full halt in her endless questioning. Pushing the latter off, she managed to get back to a sitting position and pulled her long flowing hair out of the way of Lily's little excited jumps. "I'll answer one question at a time. Now, please calm down."
"Ehem! If you've forgotten, we're in here too, you know..." a voice interrupted the reunion. Both girls looked to find the other two girls looking at them with questioning stares. The speaker was tall, long wavy brown hair pulled back with a simple silver head band, and large, warm brown eyes twinkling. Her calm disposition gave her an air of maturity.
"Oh, sorry Dorcas!" Lily responded, neatening her messed up hair. "Well, Dorcas and Alice, meet Réatra Williams!" she announced merrily. The introduced merely gave a warm smile at the two standing at the side of the bed.
Dorcas looked sceptical. "No way!" she whispered.
Alice simply looked shocked, both her eyebrows rose. "But you look so different!"
"I know!" Lily agreed excitedly.
The dark-haired one rolled her eyes. "What did you expect? The last time you saw me I was twelve. And by the way, my last name's been changed."
"Really? Why? To what?" Dorcas asked.
"Yes, well, not really changed. Rather, my grandfather just wiped off the last name and used the middle name right before it because it happens to be his family name. As for the reason, well, he doesn't like my father very much... or any westerners for the matter." She gave a small smile and a shrug.
Lily awoke early as usual the following morning. Rubbing sleep from her eyes she remained still, lying on her back and the dark ceiling of the bed as warm rays of morning light penetrated the closed hangings. With a jolt of remembrance, she rushed up and out towards the bed right next to her, a bed that had been empty for the past three and a half years.
It was still empty, neatly made like it had never been touched.
"I knew it.... ", she mumbled to herself. "It was just a dream."
However, something white caught her eyes in the mass of red and gold that was the whole colour scheme of the beds in Gryffindor tower. Lily moved towards it and found lying on the red pillow a white piece of parchment. As she got closer, she saw that it was a small envelope, addressed to a Lily Evans. Picking it up she stared at the small round swirls that made up her name. It was a handwriting she recognized— handwriting she had been reading in not-so-frequent letters for two consecutive years and completely seemed to disappear with the owner in the past year.
Flipping it over, she found the envelope closed, sealed with a rough, but beautiful black ink drawing of a flower she assumed was a chrysanthemum. Carefully, she unsealed the piece in her hands and pulled out the letter within. Placing the empty envelope back on its original resting place, she unfolded the parchment with utmost care. There was a picture of more of the same type of chrysanthemums and a few butterflies at the bottom. The small butterflies seemed to be flapping their delicate wings slightly. Upon closer inspection, Lily found them inching around on the flowers, but as she moved to touch them with the tip of her fingers they fluttered out of the piece of paper and flew once around her before dispersing into thin air. Lily gave a gasp of surprise and then smiled. Her best friend had always done this little bit of magic on her letters ever since she had learnt it. However, she had never once disclosed of how she did it. Lily was still slightly disappointed at her best friend's secrecy. Lily looked back down at the parchment in her hands. The same small round handwriting was neatly scrawled all over the letter.
Don't worry, it wasn't a dream. I did grace you with my awe-inspiring presence last night [smirks]. And no, I haven't disappeared so you're not in a nightmare either. Yes, I can still read your mind.
Anyway, just in case you were wondering where I've gone to, I had to go see the Head Master because there was something he needed of me urgently (Prof. McG. told me last night). I won't be down for breakfast or class (don't fret here my studious friend, the Prof.s know). I probably won't be down for lunch either... long talk. Hopefully, I'll be done before dinner.
Don't miss me too much!
Lily folded the letter back and smiled. Her friend did make it seem like she was reading her mind and everyone else's as a matter of fact. Lily could swear that the once tomboy was actually a skilled Legimens, but she had denied countless times stating that she merely observed people and figured out their reactions.
Shaking herself from old thoughts, Lily inserted the letter back in its envelope and tucked it neatly with a small pile of letters inside her trunk. That particular stack of letters all were addressed to her from Miu, dating back to the end of their second year at Hogwarts. It all seemed like ages ago when the she had left. The red head slumped back on her bed and sighed in reminiscence.
That sad day, they had all been down by the lake. Sirius and Miu had been arguing as per usual, well, it had actually been Sirius barking threats at Miu, who unlike her usual self, had barked back at him at every possible moment, keeping Sirius's angry spark aglow. Lily had never seen her in such a bad mood to actually loose her cool before anyone. The rest had all been watching from the sidelines. To the boys, everything had seemed normal, but Lily knew better. There had been something strange about Miu that particular day, like something was dreadfully wrong but she hadn't let anyone in on her secret. Lily's best friend had been very moody and silent for the past few days before that particular fight, but when asked, she'd merely brushed it off. Apart from that, she had also been very twitchy and jumpy as if constantly on the edge. If someone had called her, she would jump and turn around, with eyes as wide as saucers. If someone had tapped her or even touched her when she wasn't expecting it, she would hit whoever it was. After she had hit people five times, people stayed away from her, avoiding all contact if possible. This had also been the reason for the fight.
Sirius had tapped her from behind in hopes of getting her attention. Instead of her usual "What?", he had received a hard blow right smack in his face causing him to fall back on to the ground with a bloody nose. Luckily, it had only bled from the impact and had not broken, but even still, it had amazed everyone at just how strong her whacks could be. However, when Miu didn't apologize and had given him another one of her sarcastic comments, he had yelled at her with full force. After a while, the verbal fight had drifted off into another subject.
Their battle of words, however, had been interrupted by none other than the Head Master himself, Albus Dumbledore. Everyone had gone silent, turning towards the Head Master with anticipation, particularly Miu, who had had with a grim expression plastered on her face. Professor Dumbledore had turned to the girl with an equally grim expression, his piercing blue eyes lacking its usual sparkle and shine behind the half moon spectacles. And just like their expressions, the professor had had grim news to convey to her. Her father had passed away, murdered by a Death Eater, a follower of a dark wizard on the rampage known and revered as Voldemort.
Miu did not utter a word and to everyone's amazement, the professor excluded, she did not shed a single tear. She had looked as calm as can be, her twitching and anxiety long gone. Instead, she had merely gave a firm nod as her lips had pressed tightly together into a thin line. She had closed her eyes momentarily and then turned them back to those piercing blue ones for the owner to continue. Miu had seemed to know that was not the end of the story.
The professor had nodded, the gloomy expression never leaving his face or Miu's. What had come after was not only a blow to Miu but also to Lily who was still in shock from the previous news.
Due to this tragedy, Miu no longer had any parents to care for her or any aunts or uncles as her father had no living relatives and therefore she had to be placed under the care of her maternal grandparents. This had not been the bad news. Not yet. Lily had been expecting something like this as she had already known that Miu's mother had passed away a few years after her birth. What Lily had not expected was for Miu to leave Hogwarts altogether. When enquired, the professor had merely remained silent. It was Miu who had answered. Her mother had been an eastern wizard and so were her maternal grandparents. Her grandfather did not approve of her mother's marriage to a western wizard but had agreed to let Miu stay even after the death of his beloved daughter due to Miu and her father's pleas. However, since she was no longer under anyone's care, her grandfather had had control of where she was to be and right then, she was to return to him to be schooled their
Wizards of Miu's home nation were a mystery. There was little to no connection whatsoever between them and the western wizard world or even the those eastern ones that resided nearby. If it weren't for Miu ever mentioning about her maternal side of her bloodline, Lily and the rest of her friends would have thought there never existed any witches or wizards of such reclusive nature.
Lily had not understood then what the difference was between the two schoolings. She still didn't understand that even now. Miu had never explained though she had seemed to know perfectly well the reason behind this decision and had accepted it without so much as a complaint. She had merely packed her belongings and left with whispers of goodbye and a promise to Lily to write to her as often and soon as she possibly could.
"Lily?" the voice of Dorcas Meadowes broke the red head from her train of thought.
"Can you help? Alice can't find her books."
"There. He should be up in a few hours." Miu opened her eyes, looking down at the sleeping form of a huge man, taking up three whole beds at the school's hospital wing. "I can't guarantee his state of mind when he does though, but I'm sure he'll eventually come out of it alright. If he doesn't, well, It'll just take me a few months to bring him back to normal", she stated as a matter-of-factly as she got up from her sitting position at the giant man's head. However, as she did so, her legs wobbled and they threatened to let her fall to the ground if Professor McGonagall hadn't caught her in time. Miu raised a hand to support her dizzy head as blood rushed to it and blurred her vision momentarily.
"Miss Williams! Are you alright?" the professor cried in alarm, completely forgetting that the student had changed her name.
Miu gave her a weak smile and nodded, but regretted it the moment she did for the movement made her sick to the stomach. She bit back as she felt bile rise up to her mouth "It's alright, Professor. I just need a bit of rest that's all."
The professor turned towards a plump woman wearing white, who still had on her face an expression of utter bewilderment.
The woman snapped to attention at the professor's call.
"Please help her. She's sick."
The plump woman blinked once before making her way to the swaying girl in the thin professor's arms. The professor herself could barely support the girl's weight. But she was stopped before she reached them for the girl had held up her hand for a halt. "It's alright Madam Pomfrey. I'm fine." She quickly pulled herself together and gently pushed the worried professor away as she made great effort to stand on her own two feet. "I think I'll just go to sleep for a while."
"But my dear, you're deathly pale and you can barely stand! Stay in the hospital wing for a while. I can give you a few days off until you recover", the professor insisted while Madam Pomfrey nodded her head in agreement. It was rare for the professor, who was famous for being the strictest teacher in Hogwarts to so easily give a student permission to cut class, but this particular student's condition seemed to have given her quite a worry.
Miu gave them both another weak smile. "Please. It's really not that big a problem. I can just go sleep in my dorm room and I'll be fine. But thank you very much for the offer."
"But-" the professor was cut short by another. In walked the Head Master of Hogwarts, his blue eyes dancing behind his spectacles, just as Miu had remembered him years ago. His long white beard flowed down to his waist as his white hair was covered with a dark blue hat that matched his dark blue robes.
He smiled warmly at Miu before turning to the worried professor, "No need to worry, Minerva. If Miss Kandraka says she's fine then it will be alright to just let her rest in her dormitory for a day or two." Miu returned him a smile as he continued, "I will ask the Elves to send food up to her dormitory, so could you please escort her back up there?"
The willowy professor nodded and briskly guided a wobbly Miu out of the hospital wing. Once the two was out of earshot, the Head Master turned towards the nurse who was still silent and then towards the giant of a man on the three beds. "I see she's done a good job with Hagrid. We are very fortunate she decided to return this year."
Madam Pomfrey turned to the Head Master, her face still etched with wonder. "Albus, just who-what
is that girl?" she asked him in a bare whisper.
The Head Master smiled sincerely at her. "Just an eastern sorceress."