Prologue: The Pendant
Bellatrix rejoiced - Hot blood, searing flames, acrid smoke and noise, glorious noise. The delicious cacophony of killing and dying surrounded her, enveloped her, embraced her. She savored the smell of blood mixed with sweat and fear. She recognized the odd fleeting faces, the werewolf Lupin, her own niece Nymphadora, one of the Weasleys. They all fell before her and she felt rapturous joy at their passing and the part she played in liberating them from their unendurable misery.
"You are welcome, my love!" She screamed into the face of each of the dying. And in their last moments her victims knew that they had seen and been touched by pure madness.
She was playing with three schoolgirls when the Weasley matriarch cut in and began to play in earnest. Oh the joy she would bring this small, stout mother. Bellatrix tilted her head back and roared in delight when it happened.
A narrow-beam cutting curse struck the middle of her chest. If not for the blood pendant at her breast the beam would have sliced through her neatly as a rapier severing her aorta and killing her even as she stood dripping the blood of her victims and gloating. As it was the crystal center of the pendant shattered, and the blood within it commingled with hers. She dropped like a beautifully dark marionette suddenly deprived of her strings.
Bellatrix found herself walking down a narrow path. The sky was brilliant blue, the sloping hills green with lush grasses. The path, a wide walkway, seemed to follow the contours of one particular hill. As she rounded the gentle curve she saw a thin, dark-haired man sitting on a low stone fence. Walking nearer she could see his bright, youthful smile.
"Sirius?" She asked.
"In the flesh, so to speak." He answered.
She smiled and ran to hug him but stopped just short.
"But I killed you!" she cried. Then her face contorted in grief and remorse as she fell to her knees sobbing. "I'm sorry Sirius, I'm so, so sorry!"
Her favorite cousin knelt beside her so that he could gather her into a reassuring hug.
"You didn't mean it, Bella. Iknow that now."
She cried in his arms for an age it seemed and then sat back on her heels.
"I am dead, aren't I?"
"Sort of." He said.
"How can I be "sort of" dead? Isn't that like being just a "little" pregnant?"
"Remember the pendant that grandfather Aesop gave you when you first left home?"
Bellatrix brought her hand to her bosom to feel the reassuring weight of the pendant there, "He told me never to take it off. Even when I was in Azkaban the pendant was there under a powerful"notice-me-not" spell."
"Well, it seems that pendant contained a drop of blood from one of our ancestors, one who has yet to travel the road we're on today."
"An immortal?" She asked.
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