The Sugar Quill
Author: Raven Snape (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Ancient Prophecy  Chapter: Prologue
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Prologue

Hear now the word of the Witches, the secrets we hid in the night,
When dark was our destiny’s pathway, that now we bring forth in the light.

As she watched her cottage burn, she knew she must flee. Where? For the last year and a half she had lived here, hidden among the quiet townsfolk of Ravenglass, which was off the cost of the Irish Sea. Keeping to herself as a witch in a Muggle world had not been easy. In the last days of her pregnancy a midwife had seen to her daily; when her daughter arrived that September morning, Ezmarelda felt joy such as she had never known before.

The midwife inquired if there was anyone she could call to help with the child for the next few weeks, but the idea was quickly dismissed by Ezmarelda with a story about leaving for the States as soon as she was able. She had no intention of leaving, of course; she felt safe there, or as safe as anyone could be nowadays.

All that had changed in an instant. She had gambled when she decided to hide in an obvious place, a place rich with her family history. The decision seemed humorous at the time: hide in the one place they would think first to look for her. But then who would be foolish enough to do that? Ezmarelda Ravenclaw was smarter than that, they would argue. She would never risk returning to family land. Searching there would be a waste of time, so they hunted elsewhere. The gamble had paid off, allowing her to live in peace while all around her good witches and Muggles alike died under the green glow of the Death Mark.

But now, nowhere was safe: not for her and especially not for her daughter, Raven. She knew the Mark above the town, and she knew terror. How could he have betrayed her like this? Betrayed them both: his daughter and the woman he claimed to love. The Mark came that night, leaving no doubt in her mind she was now a target too. The black hooded figures coming toward her would destroy all in their wake. It was only a matter of time before they found her hiding in the green-glowing shadows of the night.

She could not Disapparate, not with Raven sleeping in her arms. Death Eaters were all around, searching. Death Eater. The name repulsed her. And yet, the man she had once counted as a friend, even loved, could now be counted among them. She heard them speak his name and then laugh callously at the murderous acts about to be committed. When she first discovered his deception she was livid.

He had been asleep holding her, with his long sinewy arms velvet on her bare skin. But on his arm around her waist something was hot to the touch. Running her hand down his forearm she felt what her eyes could not see--something raw and scabbed, hidden under a concealment charm.

Shocked fully awake, she pushed away from him, struggling out from the bed they shared. She grabbed her wand and whispered a counter charm, knowing what she would find. Her sudden departure from his embrace, and the charm uttered in fear, woke him as fully as she. Their eyes met, hers full of fear and doubt, his full of anger. She loved those eyes, dark and brooding, his satin black hair, his Roman nose. She had trusted those arms around her to love her, to hold her; now they only held the brand of a Death Eater.

The fight that followed had been a violent one, and in the end he failed to answer her questions. Why had she allowed herself to fall in love with him? She knew his nature, knew he even loved another woman more than she; but it was easy to fool oneself into believing in him every time he held her, made love to her. She fled from him that night taking with her only a broken heart, her wounded pride and a daughter he never knew he conceived.

In the months of hiding that followed, memories returned to haunt her every time she heard of a new killing or read of the Death Mark appearing over someone’s home. They had met at school: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Although they were in different houses—he in Slytherin House, she in Ravenclaw—something of a friendship had developed. His love of potions and her uncanny ability with the properties of plants, flowers and herbs made them a prized team. Of course she knew he did not feel for her the same as she felt for him. His desires lay with a fiery redhead, whose heart belonged to another. Patience and care had paid off, and after graduation his passions fell to her to satiate. But had he ever loved her?

A better question now would be how could she have loved him? In these past months of hiding she tried to believe some good of him. After all, the little girl she held in her arms looked so much like him. How could something so beautiful have come from the man that she now watched from the shadows?

Her mind reeled. Why? I’m from a pureblood family. A direct descendent from Rowena Ravenclaw--a founder of Hogwarts, no less! An old wizarding family whose line can be traced back a thousand years. As green lights flashed, and evil men raged, Ezmarelda Ravenclaw held her sleeping daughter tight to her chest, pulled her invisibility cloak around her and disappeared into the night.

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