Prologue



Deep in the forests, there was a castle. It wasn't a huge, fancy castle, like Hogwarts, full of turrets, and staircases that moved, and haunted suits of armor, and house-elves, and rooms that only appeared on Wednesdays. Nor was it a Muggle castle, packed with tourists taking photos and pointing excitedly at 14th Century privies. This castle was different.


For a start, it was called Isabelle's Castle located deep in the wilderness of Northern Tommer a forest 50 miles out of London. If any lonely traveler chanced to see it one dark night, whilst hiking among the creatures of the night, then they would probably pretend that they never saw it and it was all a strange dream. You don't normally come across a small, gray castle, composed mainly of a tall tower with few windows and rather impressive battlements, that looked like it had come straight from Germany or Scotland, in the heart of England. It was an anachronism on stilts. Yet no traveler would ever come across this castle, for it was unplottable. No Muggle, no wizard or witch, no prowling wolf, no wide-eyed owl. It did not exist within the regular confines of space-time; it existed in a distortion, a fracture, a veil of nothingness. It was impossible to enter without the use of a specially charmed portkey, and the use of that portkey was restricted only to those who had managed to obtain the express permission of the castle's owner, a old french women called Nathalie Beaufort.



.....although I am somehow certain the this beloved book, with all it spells and secrets, will not be lost to future generations!

One day, another woman of spirit shall discover the power within these precious pages. Too soon, I go to my grave. Having no daughter of my own, I use the last of my remaining power to beg that this knowledge not die with me. Only the shall a I rest easy.

Nathalie Beaufort
Isabelle's Castle~

Nathalie laid down her quill pen. She blew across the wet ink as it dried on the thick pages of her journal.Another shot of pain racked through her body. Nathalie squeezed her eyes shut, refusing to cry out. She did not believe in showing weakness- any weakness. Even now, in her finale hours of life, she refused to give in to feelings of hopelessness. One last task lay ahead.


Nathalie placed the journal in the deepest drawer of her writing desk. But the book- her precious book- demanded a more protected hiding place.

Emma lifted the book and hugged it briefly. She ran one thin, shaking hand across its soft leather cover.A feeling of deep comfort ran through her. She sighed, then forced herself to stand, to walk on unsteady legs across the sitting room floor. She stopped in the hall, turning to lock the door behind her. Then she made her way,slowly and painfully, to the stairs.

She climbed.

On the attic landing, a sudden cold, sharp, draft of wind pierced her to the bone. She gasped at the shock, clutching the book more tightly. Only a few minutes more, she promised herself. Then she could rest.

She pushed open the attic door and stood blinking while her eyes adjusted to the darkness. She scanned the room. There... there in the far corner, beneath that loose board.... the prefect hiding place.

She kneeled. She tenderly kissed the book, then lowered it into the dark space. She pushed back the loose board to hide the secret compartment. With the last of her strength, she forced herself to leave the attic. For the last time, she slowly made her way down the familiar stairs. For the last time she pictured the one person who made her life the way it was, the one who gave her power, then one who gave her love, the one who gave her hell.....









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