Ignoring the icy ride back across the frozen lake, it had been rather nice to be back at Hogwarts. Reenergized, Rowan had was able to resume her long hours of studying the library in continuing her research. She wasn't the only one as the fifth and seventh years also went back to their old routine as that upcoming spring it would finally be time for their O.W.L.S. and N.E.W.T.S
With the grounds covered in piles of snow, regular snowball fights were an everyday occurrence which absolutely made Filch furious. For on more than one occasion, enchanted snowballs would regularly pelt his office. Naturally, the culprits were many including the Marauders. However, no suspects were ever punished as the practical joke ceased after a stern warning from the four house heads.
And in such a fashion, Severus and Rowan's 12th birthday on January 9th passed unnoticed. Not that Severus and Rowan much minded as they did not have fond memories of their birthday before and rather preferred it that way. The two of them have been rather clear on the subject with their elder Prince family members. As such the twins only received a simple letter from Grandfather Reginald, Grandmother Sirsa, and even Aunt Georgine wishing them a happy 12th birthday. With a package filled with sweets, the twins were more than satisfied and gratefully thanked their family members in a sincere, but rather simple note.
Rowan stretched and glances at the time seeing that the library would soon be closing. Gathering her notes, she shelved the archives, before waving goodbye to Madam Pince and making her way into the chilly depths of the dungeons. With a frozen face, Rowan hurriedly says, "Twizzle," as the Slytherin common room door opens. Rushing inside, she shivers with the bitter chill and makes her way over to the nearest fire.
Warming her hands in the warm crackling fire, Rowan glances around to spot shadows flickering across a pale-haired figure. Narrowing her eyes, Rowan quickly recognizes the feminine figure, Narcissa Black. Rowan swiftly recalls her grandparents and Aunt Georgine discussing the surprising news of Beatrix Lestrange's untimely death.
Personally, it might be best to avoid Narcissa in her time grief. Because no matter how much she disliked Narcissa, it did not change the fact that Narcissa had cared for her elder sister, Bellatrix. Quietly moving towards the girl's dorms, a sharp voice from behind Rowan says, "A word, Rowan Prince."
"Yes?" Rowan paused and turns to face the grief-stricken Narcissa.
Rising from her seat, Narcissa strides across the common room to halt before the fireplace as the fire casts light and shadows across her face. "You!" Narcissa painfully exclaimed as she softly whispered, "Why did you have to go and say that?"
"I'm confused," Rowan said in bewilderment. "I apologize for any words I may have said Narcissa, but I have never made light of your grief."
"Why did you have to speak about L-," Narcissa paused. "About Tom Riddle!"
"Because it was the truth," Rowan solemnly replied. "I couldn't allow for such a lie to ruin countless other lives."
"But it did," Narcissa hissed as she pointed at Rowan. "Because of you, Bellatrix is dead!"
"I thought she caught Dragon Pox and died," Rowan feigned innocence.
"You!" Narcissa indignantly said as she clenched her fists in pain. "It wasn't Dragon Pox that killed her, it was my father!" Narcissa blinks with horror and panic at the realization of what she had just revealed.
Rowan blinks in shock and understanding as she sees the turbulent emotions in Narcissa eyes. Before Narcissa can speak, Rowan raised her left hand and lifted her hair to reveal a gruesome shaped scar on her scalp. Narcissa winces at the sight as Rowan removed her hand for her hair to flop back down to cover the nasty scar.
"I know a thing or two about violent fathers," Rowan stiffly said. "I can easily imagine that my words were the final kindling that sparked the fire that killed, Bellatrix. But a violent man will always excuse his actions and your father was one who ultimately carried out that terrible deed."
Narcissa presses his lips together in pain as moisture can be seen in her eyes. Rapidly blinking away the tears Narcissa stiffly says, "I won't ever forgive you, Rowan Prince." But unwillingly to owe Rowan anything, Narcissa trembling lifted up her right sleeve to reveal a sharp japed scar across her upper forearm. Rowan's face saddened in silent understanding as Narcissa hurriedly tugged her sleeve back down.
Rowan's eyes, however, did not miss the recent bruising on her upper arm, but she did not dare make a comment. It wasn't her place to do so. The two curtly nod at each other in subtle understanding that they will never speak about this evening again. Turning away, Rowan heads to the girl's dorms leaving Narcissa alone to mourn her loss.
Shivering Rowan hastily puts on her pajamas to find the girls still up. "What are you guys doing?" Rowan said through chattering teeth.
Under scores of thick blankets, Tiffany rather muffled said, "We're just gossiping."
"About what?" Rowan mumbled as she dove into her own pile of blankets and made a small blanket igloo for herself.
Silva's eyes gleam in the darkness as she says, "Scandal and intrigue!" Rowan rolls her eyes Silvia continues, "Apparently my father had a prisoner of Azkaban released as his memories were found tampered with and was found innocent of the crime of murdering an entire muggle family."
Wanting to know the regular wizarding world's opinion, Rowan casually asked, "Who was the convict?"
"Morfin Gaunt," Silvia said with a shrug. "But the most interesting thing is that it is now widely believed to be that the nephew as in the muggle's own son to be the true murderous culprit." Rowan hides the look of approval in her eyes and continued to listen.
"Anywho, the poor bastard doesn't much have much longer to live. And father arranged for his last days to be spent in a warm place by the seashore," Silvia added.
"Well, it's the least that can be done," Bethanie huffed. "Imagine being imprisoned in Azkaban for a crime that you didn't commit!"
"But what of the murderer?" Tiffany asked in dread as she shivered fearfully. "The murderous nephew still hasn't been caught has he?"
"No, but there are no warrants out for his immediate arrest," Silvia cheerfully said.
"I suspect that won't happen," Rowan truthfully remarked.
"And why is that?" Silvia asked as Bethanie and Tiffany gazed at her with curiosity.
"Well, he's brilliant," Rowan answered earning her dark looks from the girls. "What I mean to say, just look at what he's done. First, not only did he murder his entire muggle family, but pinned the crime on his uncle. To tamper with his uncle's memories, who by all accounts was a powerful, if not mad wizard, took some sincere power and skill. Does a person like that get easily caught? No, I fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg because people like that don't just stop."
The three girls are quiet until Bethanie says, "Well, that's enough gossip for now. We've got class tomorrow, off to bed everyone!" Silvia sighs in disappointment as Tiffany happily burrows into her cocoon with the rest of the girls doing the same. Nevertheless, it was a long night as all four girls found themselves pondering about said past events.