Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters, J.K.
does. I guess I also don’t own the opening premise of this story. I
that off the Dalai Lama.
Technical Notes: In this fic, Ginny is named
I know people seem to favor "Virginia," but I felt the
didn’t quite go with the mood of the story. And I do remember
a movie once upon a time wherein King Arthur’s pet name for his wife
Author’s Notes: Hypothalamus-felt thanks to
Katne for beta reading, and to the Sugar Quill, for taking a chance
**an unknown kid** :D I love SQ, and am proud to be part of it. (It
took two tries!) ~ Ara Kane
"He died facing east."
Henry looked away from the speaker and out the
at the endless, barren hills. "Yes."
"That is where you must go to find the new
the black-robed Warder told him.
"I know, Sirius," he replied rather
"I was born knowing."
Sirius smiled understandingly. Upon the sober young
brow, half-hidden by his unruly black hair, was the mark of the
It had been on his father’s brow, too, but James had died young; and
it had fallen to Henry to find the new Wizard King.
Both Sirius and Henry had been present on that
end-of-summer night when Albus died. The old King went calmly, even
a joke at the very end. "’Tis a pity, Lord Henry,"
had said with a small smile, "that I must send you out when
is nearly autumn. Had I the choice, I would have gone in the spring,
given you a summer in the countryside as a farewell
And then, with a deep, drawn-out sigh, the light faded from his
Sirius watched Henry frown thoughtfully out the
The young man was not angry about having to go forth and find the
Wizard King; rather, he was more likely cursing the fates for making
do so at a time when Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters were on the
"You can do it, Harry," the Warder said softly. "I
Henry smiled at the nickname. Sirius had been one
his father’s dearest friends. "Let us hope your faith is not
"These are troubled times," the older man
"but past Seekers have faced worse."
"You have heard the stories, have you
James and his friends had spent their boyhood at the feet of James’
listening to the thrilling exploits of past Seekers, and then
the tales in the apple orchards of the family’s estate. In James’
Sirius had passed on these stories to his son. He had even played
part of Seeker when Henry had been too young to claim his rightful
in the make-believe games.
Henry smiled again, remembering the time when a
had been nothing more than a hero in a story. "It is another
altogether to be living the adventure."
"Think of it this way, mate," Ronald,
closest friend, lectured that afternoon, "it’ll make quite a
to tell your grandchildren one day."
He had to raise his voice above the din of the
rather stuffy room, but Henry and Ronald loved the Three
and made it a point to meet for a tankard or two whenever Ronald was
Hogsmeade on business.
"This is assuming I will have any
Henry replied wryly.
"Of course you will!" the lanky young man
his friend incredulously over his ale. "You’ll need someone to
you as Seeker someday, won’t you?"
"And this is assuming I will find a
"Of course you will! There must be a woman out
who will be silly enough to have you."
"And this is assuming I will survive the
"Of course you will!" Ronald said for the
time. His blue eyes were wide and his red hair seemed to catch fire
his indignation. "Don’t talk nonsense, Harry. And stop trying
"Would any of you gents fancy a good
a female voice at Henry’s elbow asked.
Both young men looked up to find a slender young
with hair as red as Ronald’s own, laughing merrily down at them.
Guinevere!" Ronald admonished his younger sister as he made a
for her beside him. "What if someone heard you and decided to
you up on the offer?"
She laughed again, the silvery sound drawing quite
few masculine eyes to their table. "Then I would have had to
"Would you have been able to do
"Do you want to try me?" Guinevere pouted
at her brother. "Oh, honestly, Ron, nothing happened. I made
you were in here before I entered." She then turned her warm
gaze to the other man seated at the table. "Lord Henry,"
said, acknowledging his presence with a deliberate nod of her
Henry swallowed the ale that had remained in his
all throughout the warm exchange between brother and sister.
Ginny," he responded politely, with a nod of his own. She had
taller, prettier, and more confident — nothing at all like the
little girl who had once trailed him and Ronald wherever they
"She doesn’t answer to ‘Ginny’ any
Ronald told his friend in a lofty tone of voice. "It’s
"’Ginny’ is fine," Guinevere said, the
bow of her mouth curving into an intimate sort of smile. Henry
"Oh, so you’re back to ‘Ginny’ again, are you?
ignoring Mother, Father and I whenever we called you that?"
threw out his long arms in a helpless gesture. "I vow, Harry,
seen some plenty confusing things in my day, but women…I don’t even
where to begin on women!"
Ronald usually came to the city to manage his
business affairs, but on that occasion, Lord Arthur and Lady Melinda
made the trip to attend the Wizard King’s funeral.
Albus had been a gentle leader, a revered teacher,
had known most of his subjects by name. In turn, they loved him
and served their country loyally; and on a crisp autumn morning,
turned out en masse to bid their beloved monarch farewell.
The Great Hall of the castle was brimming with
the air thick from the many candles and closely packed bodies.
filtered down weakly through the hall’s enchanted ceiling, touching
gentle phantom fingers the body of Albus, the late Wizard King,
on the bier near the back of the vast chamber.
From his place behind the bier, Henry could see
Guinevere and their parents, all with flaming red hair, standing
the center. Ronald had five older brothers, but Henry supposed they
all too far away to be reached in time.
He managed to give his friend a small nod when it
time for his part in the funeral rite. The Seeker rose from his
and came forward at a stately pace, bowing to the body of his King.
young woman joined him as certain articles — a book, a patched old
and a pair of half-moon spectacles — dear to the late Wizard King
delivered into their hands. Together, they vowed to use them well in
search for the new King.
Finally, the Warders rose. Sirius, Remus and
their faces somber, drew their wands and held them aloft. Together,
vowed to keep the kingdom safe until the Wizard King’s return.
And then the body of Albus, the Wizard King, burst
The young woman who had joined Henry during the
rite was Hermione, the Diviner, tasked to aid the Seeker’s quest by
the signs and symbols that would lead them to the new Wizard King.
"I wouldn’t have wanted to become a
Ronald said as they gathered in Remus’ apartments after the funeral.
and Henry stood apart from the rest, watching Ronald’s parents speak
the Warders in grave tones. "All that studying, living apart
your family…" He shuddered.
The Diviner was standing off to one side with
Both young women were tall and slender, but Hermione was pale from a
spent in study, with tawny brown hair scraped back into a severe bun
the nape of her neck. "I don’t know," Henry observed as
watched Guinevere listen to Hermione’s chatter with a sweetly
look on her face. "She seems to have come through it
"Hah! Wait until the Seeking. She’s barking
I tell you." Unlike Seekers, Diviners were selected in early
and raised in the study of the arts of interpretation. It was an
lonely life. Indeed, quite a few had left before their training was
unable to withstand the pressure.
Ronald broke off when Hermione turned to look at
Convinced that she was looking askance at his old, rather disheveled
the redheaded young man pulled a monstrous face at her. He and Henry
back snorts of laughter when she stiffened and turned away with her
in the air.
"Harry." They immediately straightened
Remus beckoned them to come near. Ronald choked back one final snort
joining Henry, his parents and the Warders near the center of the
"You must begin the Seeking soon."
the third Warder, stared at Henry with his unsettling black eyes.
danger grows greater the longer we remain without a King. The spies
me that Voldemort is rallying his forces to raid the countryside.
must not lose the child."
"Voldemort will not be able to find him,"
said. "He knows not how."
Severus turned his piercing gaze on him. "The
Lord cares not about finding the child. He will concentrate on
all the possibilities."
"B-but that’s monstrous!" he sputtered,
"The Dark Lord is the very essence of
Lady Melinda agreed angrily.
"We cannot let all those babies die,
Ronald told his friend. "We must start out immediately. Just
me some time to pack some things and—"
"Ronald, Ronald," Lord Arthur interrupted
"the Seeking must indeed begin post haste, but who says that
are to go?"
He looked at his father blankly. "Of course I
to go. Harry cannot go without me." He appealed to Henry.
I not right?"
"I-I…I do not know," Henry mumbled.
never done this before."
"Well, you’re the Seeker, you should be able
bring whom you please!"
"Ronald!" Lady Melinda
The young man reddened and his shoulders slumped.
"Worry not, young Ronald," Sirius said.
the absence of the Wizard King, Lord Voldemort will be torn between
the Seeker and taking the kingdom. We are thinking of forming a home
in each of the provinces, to be on the alert in case the Dark Lord
There will be action aplenty for all able-bodied men in the
"Your archery skills will be sorely needed at
Remus added. Even at a young age, Ronald’s skill with the longbow
"There, you see?" Lord Arthur said to his
"We will wait; but as we wait, we will fight."
"But not too much, I hope," his wife
After the funeral, Henry abided at the castle and
preparations for the Seeking. He packed his clothing and weapons,
supplies with Remus, and saw to his horse, Firebolt, making sure
the chestnut stallion was healthy and properly shod.
He also got better acquainted with the Diviner. As
Hermione was highly intelligent, perhaps to the point of acting
but she was not "barking mad." She was given to talking,
Henry suspected that was due more to loneliness than insanity. After
growing up as she did, she probably had few, if any people her age
"Seven children, did you say?" Hermione
at supper the day before their journey was to begin. Henry had just
telling her about Ronald and his sizable family. "My
"To see them all together boggles the
he agreed. "An entire family of all shapes and sizes, but all
bright red hair."
"And Lord Ronald is the tallest?"
A small frown crossed her face.
"What have you Seen about the Seeking?"
asked, hoping to divert the young woman’s mind from his friend’s
Hermione took a thoughtful sip of wine before
"I have Seen," she said, "that more will be added to
number and we will each of us be tested before our quest comes to an
"Our quest will end, then?"
"The Seeking always ends, but whether it ends
or sadly remains to be known."
"Will it end happily?" Henry persisted
the cryptic reply. "Will we find the new King?"
"That I do not know," Hermione responded
He gulped. "Will any of us die?"
"That, too, I do not know. I wish I had all
answers, Lord Henry, but I do not. They will come, one by one, when
time is right. I hope I will be able to recognize them when they
"So do I," he agreed.
She smiled slightly, showing rather large front
"I shall try not to disappoint us both."
Remus had their horses waiting at dawn the next
Firebolt snorted, his breath misting in the chill early-morning air,
pawed the cobblestones impatiently. Yasameen, Hermione’s gray mare,
beside him with quiet dignity.
"Good luck," he said simply as Henry and
came forward to take their reins.
"Stay true," Sirius told them.
"Do not fail our people," Severus
Hermione stifled a smile as Henry made a wry face
the third Warder’s less-than-affectionate farewell. She had put her
in Yasameen’s stirrup when Ronald, riding a brown horse, clattered
the courtyard. "What on earth—" Severus bit out.
"Ron!" Henry exclaimed.
"Harry!" the redheaded young man cried
"Wh–what are you doing here?"
"Going Seeking, of course," Ronald
as he dismounted. Besides his bulging saddlebags, a well-worn
and quiver of arrows hung from his saddlebow. "You didn’t think
would let you go off by yourself, did you?"
"But you are not to go," Remus reminded
"That is what everyone told me, but I could
find it written anywhere," the young man said in a rather
tone of voice. "I have looked through all the books in the
I swear I have."
"You are needed for the home guard, do you not
The grin faded from Ronald’s face. "I
I wished I could go and stay both, but I needed to make a choice.
I choose to go."
"But you cannot go!" Severus snapped
"He is to go."
Everyone spun around abruptly. "What?"
exclaimed as one.
"He is to go," Hermione repeated
"I have Seen it. He is the Loyal One."
Henry smiled, pleased at the information, while
nodded in acceptance. Sirius looked vaguely disappointed and Severus
annoyed. And Ronald was outraged. "Why didn’t you say anything
"I had not Seen it then," she replied
a small smile. He had to come to join them, despite all odds and
to be proven the Loyal One.
"Barking mad, I told you," Ronald
loud enough for her to hear, as they all mounted. Hermione hid her
and did not answer. While she could not afford to make enemies,
with the vital mission at hand, meeting this recalcitrant redhead
her that a few foes were nevertheless necessary. They kept one on
"And on that cheerful note," Sirius said
the three riders disappeared into the early morning mists, "it