( pre ) ACT i, CHAPTER zero:
PROLOGUE: in extium hedera
ASTEROPE AURELIA RIDDLE ( more commonly known as Aurelia Black because she does not handle stress well at all ) is quite aware that her life has just been a series of unfortunate events. That's not to say that she, herself, is an unfortunate person because she has a lot — she's never wanted for nothing and she has loving mothers, not to mention she lives in a bloody castle, it's just that bad things tend to happen to her a lot.
Granted things got a lot worse when she started Hogwarts but she knew that a lot of terrible things happened to her as a baby. She is, after all, a Riddle child and bad things happened to the Riddle children because their father was a dick and he did horrible things to them, made them do horrible things. Luckily, Aurelia escaped most of the trauma he would've given her because he died when she was merely a baby. And she had been safe from him and the trauma he loved to make his children endure, that is, she had been safe from him before she had attended Hogwarts.
Aurelia had made the unfortunate but not that unfortunate decision of sitting with Harry Potter, the famous and only surviving target of her father and when he had asked who she was, she had panicked. She had stared at him for a solid five minutes before all but screaming "Hi!" again, followed by: "I'm Aurelia Black!"
This, of course, wasn't quite a lie. She was going to be using her mother's maiden name for her schooling and she had always preferred her middle name over her first name. Aurelia was the name of one of the descendants of Helga Hufflepuff that happened to be a Muggleborn, her mother had named one of the heirs of Slytherin after one of the heirs of Hufflepuff and Aurelia had always thought that was pretty bad ass of her mother to do. But then, Aurelia had to go and dig her grave by going and telling Harry Potter:
"Me mum's a professor at Hogwarts, she teaches Care for Magical Creatures, she's lovely! And me dad is Remus Lupin, I don't know what he does but he's right wicked. He gives me lots of chocolate when I see him which isn't often but it's alright, you know."
Now, the problem with that wasn't telling him her mother is a professor because technically the professor — Adelpha or Delphi Black, is technically her mum in everything but blood. Since her biological mum had been thrown in Azkaban for a crime she most certainly did not commit, Delphi Black had been taking care of her ever since. It was the Remus thing that was the problem. Yes, Remus was her godfather and he was probably the only good father figure in her life, it was highly unlikely that he would appreciate being referred to as her biological father. But, when Aurelia panics, she really panics.
When Aurelia had told Delphi just how badly she had messed up with Potter after the Sorting Ceremony which hadn't gone that well — Aurelia had managed to be the first Riddle sibling to be sorted into a house that wasn't Slytherin but it wasn't the worst because both her mums, biological and adoptive, had been in Hufflepuff so it wasn't surprising to her it just made her feel kinda left out — but, anyway, she told Delphi what she had done and instead of telling her to fix it, Delphi encourages her to go with it. And thus the identity of Aurelia Black is created, rising out of a sea of stress kinda like how Goddess, Aphrodite, was born but perhaps less elegantly. Aurelia liked being Aurelia Black way better than being Asterope Aurelia Riddle because while they were the same person with the same personality, Aurelia Black didn't have the overbearing burden of what her parents had done hanging over her head ( although technically her mum didn't do anything, she just got framed ) and Merlin's beard, that was such a good feeling.
Aurelia hadn't expected to stay close friends with Harry Potter after being sorted into Hufflepuff and him ending up in Gryffindor but she ended up doing so. Not her wisest decision because while he was a great friend as so were his other two friends, he got her into a lot of trouble. Harry had a knack for finding trouble whether he was looking for it or not, in the first year alone the four of them had done more than enough to get expelled, and Aurelia had missed out of some of the stuff they did that year — she didn't fight that troll with them because she had went with her house back to their common room. But, Aurelia was right by Harry's side when he took down her father for a second time and although it wasn't really her father, just his head on the back of their DADA professor's head, it was still horrifying to witness. Especially when her father recognised her and almost exposed her to Harry, she then took a torch off the stone wall and bashed her father across the face with it and Professor Quirrell in the back of the head with it. Harry was then able to defeat her father with some kind of ancient magic his mother had blessed him with and the four of them had managed to save the Philosopher's Stone.
It seems that some big and very troubling thing happens to the quartet every year, second year Aurelia wasn't around for most of it because she got petrified by her father's pet basilisk but before that happened she was able to figure out who opened the Chamber of Secrets and it happened to be the girl that she was crushing on — Ginny bloody Weasley, she had fancied the younger girl for some time, she had known her for a few years before Hogwarts. Her father had possessed the girl that she fancied and then used the girl to petrify Aurelia when she discovered what was going on, what a dick. And Aurelia's third year had been pretty quiet so far, despite the castle grounds being overwhelmed with Dementors, Aurelia hates Dementors. But, every year without fail, something big and very troubling happens to the quartet and this happens to be the night that the said very big and very troublesome thing happens.
Sirius Black had lured all four of them to the Shrieking Shack by dragging Ron there. Aurelia knew that he was innocent, her mothers had told her that all her life and she had seen Sirius during her Azkaban visits, she'd give him the flowers in her hair to spruce up his dark little cell. But he played the part of evil, dramatic villain very well. Then Lupin had showed up, then Snape, and all in all it was a mess. Finally Sirius got to explain everything and now they all know he's innocent which leads them to this very moment, the moment where they're all just leaving the Shrieking Shack.
They're stopped by Sirius who holds his arms out like a shield and in front of him, Aurelia can see that Remus has gone rigid and her throat runs dry. He hadn't taken his potion and tonight was the full moon, Aurelia whimpers: "Oh, bullocks."
"Oh, my — he didn't take his potion tonight! He's not safe!" Hermione gasps and Aurelia clings to her, both of them are shaking as they watch Remus start to transform.
"Run," Black whispers, "Run. Now. Leave it to me — RUN!"
There's a terrible snarling noise, Lupin's head is lengthening and so is his body. His shoulders are hunching, hair is sprouting visibly on his face and hands, which curl into clawed paws. Crookshanks's hair is on end; he's backing away — as the werewolf reared, snapping its long jaws, Sirius disappeared from Harry's side. He had transformed as well, into his Animagus form. The enormous, bearlike dog bounded forward. As the werewolf wrenches itself free of the manacle binding it, the dog seizes it about the neck and pulls it backward, away from Ron and Pettigrew. They are locked, jaw to jaw, claws ripping at each other — Hermione screams something about Lupin's wand and Aurelia looks just in time to see Pettigrew diving for it.
"NO!" Aurelia screams, knowing that Pettigrew is going to use it to get away.
Harry disarms him but it's too late, Pettigrew had successfully managed to transform back into his Animagus form and he's taking off across the grounds and Aurelia's isn't thinking straight when she goes running after him. All she can think about is Sirius losing his freedom again and she can't let that happen, Harry and Hermione scream something at her but she can't hear exactly what they say over the rushing of her blood in her ears.
She chases Pettigrew into the Forbidden Forest and that's where she loses sight of him and that's when she realises that she's being chased by Remus. He's a werewolf, of course, he doesn't know any better because he no longer sees her as Aurelia but rather as a victim. "Shit." Aurelia mumbles and she takes off running, further into the forest, her heart hammers in her chest and her mouth has gone dry.
Aurelia is terrified, she can't let Remus get to her because she'd probably die and then he'd never forgive himself for hurting her. She keeps running deeper and deeper into the forest, then finally she can't hear the werewolf anymore and she wonders if perhaps he had been distracted by something else. Aurelia reluctantly lets herself come to a stop, to catch her breathe, she leans against the thick trunk of a dead tree. As she breathes heavily, she can smell the scent of damp grass, Aurelia knows that this isn't probably one of her wisest decisions but she can scarcely breathe. She, of course, keeps her wand at the ready, her thin fingers gripping the Cypress wood so tightly it's a miracle that it doesn't snap. She's not very good at defensive spells, or any spells outside of the Patronus Charm for that matter but it's her only weapon against the werewolf. It's almost sickeningly silent in the Forbidden Forest. Then all at once, Aurelia can hear the snapping of branches in front of her and she aims her wand, a whole bunch of defensive spells that she's only read about on the tip of her tongue; she's not dying tonight — Remus would never forgive himself if she let that happen.
There's a low snarl that sounds from in front of her and a few feet in front of her, she can see Remus there, bathed in the moonlight, hunched over and chest heaving with every breath he takes, he's looking right at her. There's no signs of recognition in his glowing eyes, the only thing there is an intense hunger.
"Fuck me," Aurelia mumbles, "Every year, every year we go through some terrifying bullshit. This is it, if I live through this, I swear I'm done hanging out with them."
Remus moves forward, slowly as if he is unsure if she's actually a human or not, she's standing completely still and it must confuse his werewolf-driven mind. He takes another step and Aurelia casts a 'stupefy' which sends him back a couple steps, he whimpers as if he's been hit by something very hard.
"Shit." Aurelia says tiredly, it wasn't strong enough and she's not sure if it's because she didn't do it properly or because that's not enough to stop a full-grown werewolf. Remus lets out a low growl and begins stalking forward, Aurelia raises her wand "Nice, doggy . . . Good boy, listen, I know I may look like a nice meal but I'm really bloody not, I'm not even a snack. I've got no meat on my bones, honestly I wouldn't be very filling. I'm more of a toothpick, actually, so why don't you go and, uh, find something to eat and come back to use me as a toothpick. Doesn't that sound like a plan? Hey, no, back-up, this is very bad dog behaviour, Remus!"
She's pushed herself right into the trunk of the tree now and Remus is still moving forward, Aurelia raises her wand to try and stun him again when he pounces and she screams. His claws slash against her cheek, her stomach, her arms, Aurelia screams and screams. Remus goes to bite her and her panic reaches a fever pitch, she can hardly hear his snarls or her screams over the blood pounding in her ears, she grabs at his jaw and pulls down, it's wet and slobbery and she hates it. She doesn't want to die and she certainly doesn't want to become a werewolf, she pulls down at his jaw and he lets out a choked snarl.
He shakes his head vigorously, trying to get free from her grasp, he lets out an annoyed growl and she yells "I don't like this anymore than you do, Remus, if I had a water bottle, I'd be using that instead, trust me!"
He tries to bite down but the way she's holding his lower jaw makes it hard for him to do so but her hold is weakening. Dark spots are clouding her vision and Aurelia knows it's because she's lost a lot of blood. Merlin, oh, holy fuck, I'm gonna die! Remus snarls again and tries to shake her hands off, Aurelia starts to cry because her eyelids are getting heavier and heavier, she doesn't want to die, not like this. Her body feels like it's on fire, her hands are absolutely soaked with his slobber, she can hardly see anything because her vision is so heavily clouded with dark spots and then suddenly it feels like she's soaring through the air, Aurelia thinks that Remus has managed to finally free his jaw from her grasp and has now sent her flying through the air like a life-size rag doll. And then, everything is gone.
A RAT COMES scurrying out of the tall grass, letting out out terrified squeaks as it runs into a tall woman's hands. The tall woman picks up the rat with an annoyed scowl on her face, she's not alone, beside her stands another woman that is shorter than she is but still rather tall. The other woman is listening for something, there's the sounds of running steps and laboured breathing, her eyes light up and she turns to her companion.
"One of the children followed Pettigrew!" The woman whispers delightedly, "Do you think it's, Potter?"
The woman holding the rat listens to the footsteps and the breathing too, it's close by. What's even closer is the sound of a werewolf, snarling and running and obviously chasing down the child. "If it is Potter, we should leave him, Goyle. You know that the Dark Lord wants to kill him, himself."
Goyle pouts, daring to peak through the shrubbery that hides them "Oh, it's not Potter. It — it's your niece! It's Bellatrix's wittle star, she's going to be absolutely devastated that —" Goyle is interrupted by Asterope Riddle's screams and her eyes become glued to the sight before her, the werewolf had pounced on Asterope Riddle and there's so much blood. But, to her surprise, Asterope Riddle actually puts up a fight against the werewolf.
Beside her the tall woman's eyes widen in alarm "No! That's the Dark Lord's weapon, she can't be killed, he needs her —" she goes to rush forward to kill the werewolf but Goyle stops her and advises her to look and so she does.
The tall woman keeps a tight grip on her wand, ready to step in despite being held back. She didn't like Asterope Riddle anymore than Goyle did but she knew very well that the Dark Lord needed her and she couldn't be killed. Her cool grey eyes scan the scene before her, Asterope Riddle is trying her best to fight off the werewolf but even from where Goyle and herself are standing, it's obvious that's she growing weaker than she already is, soon she wouldn't be able to hold it off at all. The tall woman glances at Goyle, they really should step in but all she gets is a "Watch!" in response.
That's when she notices the glow emanating from Asterope's hands at first, it starts out a lovely shade of lilac purple and then it quickly turns into a violent green — it's not the exact colour of the Killing Curse but it's still a sickly-looking green. Then it spreads from Asterope's hands and wraps around the werewolf, it causes him to grow as weak as Asterope is. Things take a turn when the werewolf transforms back into the man, he looks horrible and even weaker than the now unconscious Asterope looks, The man — Remus Lupin, if the tall woman remembers correctly, looks confused. The full moon, is still high in the sky and he should still be a werewolf, his confusion turns to panic and remorse when he sees the blood on his hands and the teenage girl lying before him.
The tall woman and Goyle share a look, Goyle asks: "Did it work? Is that what —"
"I think so." The tall woman breathes out as a grin spreads across her sharp features, "She is supposed to be his weapon after all. Do you know what this means?"
Goyle shakes her head and the tall woman's grin widens "We must find our Dark Lord first, he will want to know of this new information and then we will have our work cut out for us . . . After all, every weapon needs to be tested.
━━ AUTHOR'S NOTE:
I am like SO proud of this prologue!!!! ALSO the unnamed Death-Eater and Goyle are like the two comedic henchmen that almost every villain has except they usually actually succeed in the tasks given to them and I love them so much ( but also hate them because they put Aurelia, Neville, and the Golden Trio through a lot of pain!!) Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the chapter, let me know what you thought of it!! More importantly what do you think is up with that eerie green glow???