The five of Auror's and one unspeakable warm themselves by the fire as they eagerly sip cider mugs and munch on an apple spice tart. The six of them had actually been forced to walk through the snowy woods to arrive at Prince Manor as it was impossible to apparate as the ancient Prince Manor defenses were activated to prevent such actions including the Floo Network. "I must say, Alastor, I'd never thought that your informant is the old Prince himself," Percius Clements muttered as he rubbed his hands over the fire to warm them up.
"Well, Prince did have a certain reputation in the olden days," Sara Vinovich commented as she took a sip of the hot cider. "Most of the younger folk have forgotten, but Prince was a deadly duelist in his youth said to have never lost a single match both in legal dueling's and those not as much."
Alastor Moody tactfully does not reply as he says, "Prepare yourselves, we shall be performing a Fidelilus Charm tonight."
The room goes silent as Fabian Prewett says, "Is that really necessary?"
"It is given the vicious nature of who we are dealing with," Alphard Black remarked from his seat by the fire. The room grows quiet as they all solemnly contemplate the events of the last month. Soft footsteps are heard causing all the Auror's to straighten up as only Alphard remained seated.
The door opens to reveal a child roughly of about eleven years. Tall, thin with raven-colored hair and midnight black indigo eyes, coupled with some rather androgynous features with the only real telling gender hint, the high ponytail hinting at the child's gender being that of a female. Wearing a neat silk blue sweater and matching dark dress wear, the girl locked the door behind her. "It's been a while, hasn't it, Moody?" Rowan commented as she crossed the room.
Their mouths flop open wide enough for a fly to easily walk in. With bulging eyes, they all turn to stare at Alastor, who casts a nonperception spell over the study room. Rowan nonchalant takes a seat next to Alphard and gives him a rare smile as she says, "You're Sirius's uncle, aren't you?"
Alphard eyes blink rapidly in surprise, nevertheless, he smoothly replies, "Yes, do you know him?"
"Mm, he's not all that bad, if a tad arrogant," Rowan replied. "Although he and Severus, my younger twin brother seem to strangely get along. A strange friendship if you don't mind my saying so."
"That does sound like my nephew," Alphard said with a genuine smile.
With formalities done, Alastor clears his throat as everyone's eyes turn toward him. "I present to you, my informant, Rowan Prince," Alastor truthfully said.
"Oh dear," Percius faintly muttered into his mug as he took another sip.
Fabian Prewett sighs and rubs his face as he points to Rowan and says, "You're not pulling a fast one on us are you, Alastor Moody?"
"No, I think Alastor is being quite serious," Sara muttered as she observed the relaxed figures of Alastor and Rowan.
Alastor allows everyone a moment to wrap their heads around the idea, before turning towards Rowan. "Well, let us begin shall we," Alastor said causing looks of disbelief and apprehension to appear on some of the Auror's faces. "As predicted the Death Eaters and Rockwood did indeed attempt to infiltrate the Ministry of Magic, but we were able to successfully stop them."
"That is good to hear," Rowan replied. "But before we continue, won't you introduce your comrades?"
"There sitting by your side is Alphard Black, our unspeakable per to say," Alastor Moody said as Alphard smiles drily at the joke told a thousand times before.
Pointing at Percius, Alastor continued, "Percius Clements, don't let his pleasant faade fool you, he's our charm master and our information extractor." Alastor moves over to Sara. "Sara Vinovich, our all-around veteran, who's seen more dark wizards than any of us including myself."
Alastor then points to Fabian and Gideon Prewett. "These two are the Prewett brothers. Gideon's the good looking one on the right and the larger nosed fellow is Fabian." Fabian glared at Alastor for his comment about his large nose as Gideon smirked at his brother. "Anywho, these two fellows are excellent trackers and are our men on the ground given their cheery nature."
Everyone turns towards Rowan, who says, "I'm sure that you are all wanting an explanation and all I can say is that I have a bit of the sight."
"That explains it," Gideon muttered out loud as the others nod in agreement.
"I can't go into too many details into the future except to suffice to say that should Tom Riddle win, the world as we know it will come to an end," Rowan matter-of-factly stated.
"So, he's aiming that big, huh," Fabian muttered under his breath. "The bastard."
"So, what can you tell us?" Sara pointedly asked.
"I can tell you of movements that I am certain of, but most of that which I have seen will not happen for twenty years or so to speak. I am largely going off of what can be and not necessarily what is," Rowan replied. "And that is not excluding the fact that more we change now, the less I know of the future."
"A paradoxical conundrum, huh," Percius mused out loud.
"In that case, tell us, what can be done, farseer?" Alphard readily said, much more use to these type of questions as an unspeakable.
"We attack his supplies and chip away at his strength," Rowan firmly replied. "This will be a war about who can outplay who."
"Good, we'll set our own plan in motion," Alastor said in satisfaction. After all, just this evening word had reached an informant of the true identity of Tom Marvolo Riddle had begun to spread. As an Auror, he couldn't very well miss this golden opportunity.
"I'll leave that type of planning to your more experienced selves. Although, you should be prepared as I sense that other dangerous factions may eventually become involved," Rowan carefully said.
"And why is that?" Alastor asked with narrowed eyes.
"I've been trying to create a timeline and found that from 1957 to 1967, Tom Riddle simply disappeared. There are no records or traces of where he went," Rowan gravely said. "Oh, I'm certain that he was immersing himself in the dark arts, but where could he go to find such forbidden items?"
"The underworld or to other Dark Wizards," Alastor flatly restated.
"Exactly," Rowan said. "And though this might be to our advantage now-."
"We may be facing a possible alternate timeline, where Tom Riddle aligns himself with the underworld or a Dark Wizard faction as well," Alphard interjected.
"Correct," Rowan matter-of-factly stated.
"Hell," Gideon said as Fabian smacked his brother and muttered, "Language!" As his eyes dart towards Rowan and Gideon sheepishly blinked and chorused, "Sorry."
Rowan smiles wryly in reply as she keeps information of the possible puppeteer to herself as she really didn't have any proof and these six already had enough on their plates as it was. Rowan did feel a bit helpless, but at least she had dismantled the indoctrination of Tom Riddle at Hogwarts. And that was what truly counted in the end, step by step, she would get the job done.
Alastor turns to eye Rowan and says, "And how is everything on your end?"
"I already took care of one problem on my end," Rowan honestly replied without going into detail.
Alastor and the rest of the Auror's wait for more information, but Rowan doesn't explain herself on the subject. Seeing Rowan's reluctance to speak, Alastor says, "Alright then, now that we've all met.
It's time to cast the Fidelius charm to protect Rowan's identity. Who will be the secret keeper?"
Everyone looks at each other in quiet silence. "I will," Alphard fearlessly said. Rowan's eyes flicker with an unknown emotion as she studies the solemn face of Alphard. "Who better than an unspeakable to keep a secret?" Alphard said with dark humor.
Alphard lifts his wand and in a strange voice says the long, complex incantation. A strange like binding spell is felt on all five of the Auror's as though they feel something inside them is bound to be unspoken. Alphard glows brightly for a moment as an unknown power descends over him and a golden light poured into him, before vanishing.
They are all silent as Rowan gets up and gently gives Alphard a kiss on the cheek. Alphard blinks in shock as Rowan sincerely says, "Thank you."
Alphard tiredly grins and says, "It's been a while since I even got so much as a peck from a pretty girl."
Rowan grin widens, "I can see where Sirius gets it from." Alphard tilts his head at Rowan as if in agreement of her statement as a rare bright light appears in his eyes.
"I have to return to the Christmas Gala," Rowan said. "But you are all welcome to stay for the feast."
"It's better that we remain unseen," Alastor said as the rest of them nodded in agreement.
"We'll communicate as before," Rowan said.
"Yes," Alastor replied. "But don't hesitate to reach out should it be important."
"I know," Rowan said as she paused at the door. "Good luck to you all," before unlocking the door and going out.
"What a terrible burden for one so young," Sara remarked.
"What do you mean?" Gideon asked.
"There a numb feeling to her much like that of an experienced Auror," Sara replied with pity in her eyes. "For no child should ever be that pragmatic."
The six of them are silent for a bit as Alphard gets up and says, "Then let us not have her sacrifice be in vain."
"We shan't fail," Percius confidently interjected causing a faint smile to appear on all their faces.
Seeing the positive mood, Alastor carefully instructs, "Alright everyone knows what to do now. Keep your heads low to the ground and your eyes sharp." Everyone nods, before Sara points her wand at the fireplace and the fire turns green as she steps through. The Prince defenses served to keep people out and not necessarily in. For the Prince family members were a paranoid bunch and always kept an escape route handy.
Everyone quickly steps through until the last two remaining individuals in the room are Alastor and Alphard. "Take care, Alphard," Alastor somberly said as he clasped Alphard on the shoulder.
"I will," Alphard solemnly said, before stepping into the fire. Once Alphard disappears, Alastor too steps into the green fire and vanishes. The study room is left empty with the guests above none the wiser to the important ongoing in the study room. And frankly that was a good thing as who knows, perhaps, there were spies at the very moment mingling above.