A broad-shouldered man sits in front of a burning fireplace despite the warm weather. And yet there is a chill in the castle air that not even the fire nor the weather can seem to remove. His premature dark, silvering hair is neatly combed back as he raises a glass of fire-whiskey to his lips. Taking a sip, his rugged, handsome features don't change as if frozen with some unknown thought.
A soft knock at the door is heard as the man, Cygnus Black raises his eyes with some displeasure. "Well, what is it?"
The door is pushed open to reveal a blond-haired woman with blue eyes that are rimmed red as if she had been weeping. One could easily see the resemblance of the woman in her three daughters, Bellatrix, Andromeda, and Narcissa. "He's here," Druella Black tremblingly replied causing her black dress to sway.
"Hmph, took him longer than I expected, but he was always a weakling," Cygnus sneered in conclusion. "Let him in."
Holding a white handkerchief tightly in hand, Druella says, "You must be mad! He will kill you!"
Cold eyes turn onto his wife as Cygnus rises to his feet and coldly says, "I will not repeat myself."
Druella clenches the handkerchief even tighter as despair clouds her face. Knowing better than to contradict her husband, she stiffly nods and turns on her heels.
Cygnus glances at his still full cup and downs it one gulp, before setting it on the mantel place. Staring into the fire, Cygnus waits for his son-in-law to arrive. Steps can soon be heard as the figure stops in the doorway. "Father-in-law," Rodolphus Lestrange said with a thin smile as his thin, dark features are even gaunter than before.
Without turning to face his son-in-law, Cygnus barks, "Took you long enough to gather your wits about you, boy."
"True enough," Rodolphus murmured taking a step across the threshold.
"Good," Cygnus barked. "Well, have it, boy, I have already put my affairs in order and am ready to see if there is a so-called maker. There is no need to further stay your hand if you will. We've all got places to be."
"I shall, but first, I request an answer."
"Oh, is it to inquire as to why I slew my besotted daughter or perhaps if I feel guilt over the matter. Well allow me to answer, both questions with a single statement, I do not regret my past actions."
"That was not my question," Rodolphus quietly said as his hand tightened around his wand.
"Oh? Well, I must admit I am now intrigued," Cygnus replied as he turned to face his son-in-law. "Knowing your weak nature for sure I would have expected you to spout such utter sentimental rot." Pausing, Cygnus eyes his son-in-law, "God, you look old. And your appearance, boy, when was the last time you changed your robes?"
"I did not come here to hear lectures on my appearance," Rodolphus growled.
"Well someone should. And as it appears as no one has, it falls to me to naturally correct that error," Cygnus smugly exclaimed.
Rodolphus controls himself and does not react to his father-in-law's goading. Taking a breath to steady himself, he asks, "What do you know of the tale of the Warlock's Hairy Heart?"
"A mere child's tale," Cygnus scoffed.
"Is it?" Rodolphus interjected.
Cygnus is quiet for a moment, before carefully replying, "Even the most powerful of wizards cannot live without a beating heart."
"But what about a portion of their soul?"
Cygnus' eyes grow cold and steely. "An abomination, yes, but possible."
"I see," Rodolphus quietly concluded to himself.
"Why the question?"
"Bellatrix-," Rodolphus pauses to steady his voice. "-Was entrusted with an artifact so to speak."
"And what is said object?" Cygnus finally asked after a long pause.
"Helga Hufflepuffs cup."
Cygnus's eyes brighten with awe. "The cup?" Cygnus said with some speculation.
"Yes, the cup."
"Yet, why do I hear some hesitation in thine voice?"
Rodolphus reluctantly admits, "There is something off-putting about it. A chill about it that cannot be explained. As though something inhabits therein-."
Cygnus is quiet for a moment, before saying, "And am I correct in guessing that it was entrusted to her by that wretched half-breed in whom both of you follow?"
Cygnus rubs his chin for a moment in thought, before quietly saying, "I am sure you are aware of the ancient infamous Greek wizard, who desired utter and complete power. He was nowhere near as brilliant as Nicholas Flamel, but he was most certainly powerful and clever. A parselmouth, he created the first-ever recorded basilisk for that is which he is most remembered for, Herpo, the Foul. But there are a few of us and no doubt certain members of the ministry that are aware of his true malevolent nature."
Cygnus fell silent and after some time Rodolphus finally asks, "And just what was his true depraved nature capable of?"
"Something so foul and perverse, and yet as impossible as it sounds, he did indeed learn of a manner in which to separate the soul and hideaway a portion of it."
"But the destruction of the soul would render any wizard mad!" Rodolphus with incredulity protested.
"I suspect he was already rather mad to begin with, but I suppose that did not make that much of a difference in the end."
"And so, what happened?"
"It is unknown how he was killed nor if the fragmented soul was destroyed. Perhaps it was or perhaps it was not. But I prefer to believe that it was. For it is far too terrible to imagine that he still exists somewhere in existence as a terrible wraith."
Rodolphus is silent for some time until he at last breaks the silence first. "And if, it is what I think it is, then how do I go about destroying such a foul thing?"
Cygnus throws his head back in cold laughter. "That I cannot answer, but what I do know is that such an artifact cannot be simply destroyed by any ordinary means. Good luck."
"Fair enough," Rodolphus concluded as he raised his wand and pointed at his father-in-law.
"Make me proud," Cygnus said with an arrogant sneer.
"Avada Kedarva!" A green light burst forth from Rodolphus's wand as Cygnus falters back with a pleased expression and falling to the floor with a tiny smirk on his face. Rodolphus is still for a moment, before bowing his head solemnly to the corpse of his deceased father-in-law before departing from the room.
The castle is rather eerily silent as the portraits on the wall nod or stares at his departing figure. As he stands before the grand castle doors, Rodolphus comes to a halt at seeing his mother-in-law sitting in the front hall. Rodolphus greets her politely, "Mother-in-law."
Druella Black stiffly says, "My husband passed away this evening of an unexpected heart attack, you shan't be required to attend."
Rodolphus dutifully nods his head in understanding. "Then I shall take my leave, mother-in-law."
Rodolphus turns away to leave, when Druella says, "Rodolphus Lestrange, you shan't evermore be welcome in this household. But if the time ever comes that you need urgent sanctuary, it shall be given only just once. Do not mistake my actions for kindness, but merely recompense of that which is due to my former son-in-law."
"I understand," Rodolphus said, before stepping out of the Black family castle never to return more.