"I will not ask who will die next as I do not believe even you know the answer to that question. But I will ask, what is Riddle planning?" Moody asked as he stared at the clock piece on the mantel.
Rowan is silent for a minute as she reviews the previous actions of dear old tom. "Riddle will have his Death Eater's attack an open area where many wizards and witches will have gathered for an event of some sort," Rowan theorized. "He will certainly not be present as he is far too cunning for that. Nor can I tell you when or where that will occur."
Alastor sagely nods his head as Alphard finally says, "And what exactly did you occupy yourself with, Rowan? We certainly did not receive any more news from you during the last year." Alastor turns away from the mantel to hear the response from the child's lips.
Deciding that it be easiest to mostly stick to the truth, Rowan says, "Exactly how much do both of you know about the Chamber of Secrets?"
Alastor blinks as Alphard's eyes widen in astonishment. "You mean to tell me that Salazar Slytherin's hidden chamber within Hogwarts truly does exist?" Alphard blurted out with a bit of excitement as he was after all a Slytherin.
"Oh, it exists," Rowan drily said. "As did the monstrous creature that was found within."
The two man's faces quickly darken as Alastor hisses, "And what was that?"
"A Basilisk of course," Rowan said with a bit of a dark smirk. "What better creature to tame than the King of the Serpents for the most renowned parselmouth of our times?"
"But you're still very much alive," Alphard drily observed.
"It was sheer happenstance more than anything else," Rowan admitted. "I managed to lure the Basilisk out of the castle and into the Forbidden Forest, where a nest of acromantulas managed to kill the beast."
"What!" Both men shrieked as Alastor mutely pointed at her in disbelief.
"Yes, there is a nest of acromantulas in the forbidden forest, which the ministry really should take a closer look at given that it is near a school full of children," Rowan most pointedly declared.
Alphard slumps back into his seat cradling his aching head. "And how exactly did you manage to lure the Basilisk outside, never mind finding the chamber or getting caught?
"There is an enchanted tunnel under Hogwarts that allows one to exit, but not enter," Rowan murmured. "I might have tried to kill it with a transfigured pillow that was turned into a rooster, and when that didn't work, I trapped the basilisk in a sticky pit. It did not take that very well and followed me out into the forbidden forest."
Alastor lets out a low chuckle as Alphard turns to glare at him. "And exactly what is so funny?" Alphard growled. "Because there is nothing funny about that entire situation. She could have easily died a hundred times over!"
"And they say that we lions are the ones that get into the most trouble," Alastor barked in laughter. There is a long pause before both Rowan and Alphard begin to slowly laugh and chuckle.
Wiping the tears out of his eyes, Alastor breathlessly says, "I'm sure-." His face falls as the atmosphere quickly grows silent again.
Clearing his throat, Alphard says, "I must apologize for the lack of appearance of the others. Gideon is still at St. Mungo's with Fabian at his side, while Prewett is aiding in the funeral arrangements to be held later this evening."
"I understand," Rowan softly said. "I am sure that the service will be quite lovely." Both men share a glance, but before either of them can say anything, Rowan firmly interjects, "Even if I could attend, we cannot be seen together."
Both men nod their heads as Alastor turns to glance at the clock on the mantlepiece. "We best be going then," Alastor said as he glanced at the time.
"That is fine, but I need to have a few minutes with Alphard alone," Rowan said with a straight face. "I need to discuss a potential gift for Sirius and Regulus."
Alastor nods his head in understanding not suspecting anything and gestures towards the door. "I'll be waiting for you outside," before unlocking the door and closing the door shut behind him.
Still certain the spell was still in effect in the study, Rowan says, "I need you to find several individuals for me, Alphard."
Alphard furrows his brows and says, "Why exclude Alastor out of the conversation?"
Rowan shakes her head as she answers, "Out of all of us, Alastor has the highest percentage of dying, but at the same time matched with the highest survival rate. And besides, he's lousy at lying much less hunting for clues without raising any suspicions."
"And what makes these individuals so special?" Alphard pointedly asked as if implying that they were Death Eater's.
"They know something, I just don't know what yet," Rowan somewhat truthfully replied.
Hearing the spark of truth in her voice, Alphard slowly nods his head. "Very well, but it will have to be done in my free time. I'm still an unspeakable, you know."
"That's fine," Rowan said as she leaned over to whisper the five names in his ear.
Glancing in puzzlement, Alphard arches a brow at recognizing some of the names. "I personally know two of them as they are both purebloods from Slytherin. The other three I am aware of who they are, a Hufflepuff, a Ravenclaw, and a Gryffindor."
Rowan blinks a bit surprised at that and asks, "Which of them?"
"Bulstrode and Nott are Slytherins. Burke, a Ravenclaw. Gamp, a Gryffindor. And Shafiq, a Hufflepuff," Alphard slowly said. "But remember belonging to a house is not an indication of who they truly are. Merely a highlight of some of their abilities."
"I know," Rowan replied with a frown. "I was just expecting them all to be in Slytherin."
"It's a false public assumption to assume that most purebloods are," Alphard bitterly said with a snort. "Most purebloods are actually evenly distributed throughout the four houses. It's just that those belonging to Slytherin seem to garner the most attention oftentimes for the worst offenses."
Rowan nods her head in understanding at personally seeing the subtle jabbing or not so subtle actions of the other houses. The whispered voices, the rolling of eyes, barbed critiques, all directed at any little action of the Slytherin house members. Was it any surprise that more than half of the Slytherins turned out the way they were due to always being pointed at?
Coughing loudly to grab, Rowan's attention, Alphard says, "And what exactly am I looking for?"
"Just a general investigation will do for now," Rowan steadily replied. "And their present whereabouts if at all possible."
"That normally wouldn't be too difficult," Alphard admitted. "But with the present ongoings and workload, it may take much longer than past the new year."
"I can afford to wait," Rowan truthfully answered. Because honestly, she didn't know what her next steps would be.
"Very well then," Alphard said another storm of coughs overtook him forcing him to remain seated.
Wiping his wet red lips, he hears Rowan say, "It's getting worse, isn't it?"
"Yes," Alphard hoarsely admitted as he weakly got to his feet as Rowan offered him a hand up.
There is a long pause as Rowan carefully says, "Would you like to know?"
"I already know I will," Alphard semi-bitterly answered. "I've always known ever since I was a child that I would die from this disease. And now I can feel it overcoming my body. I don't have much time left beyond a few more years."
Alphard paused at seeing her concerned expression. "It is enough to know that my brief existence will have made a difference in changing the very fabric of nature. And that is more than sufficient for me." Rowan gently squeezes his held hand once, before letting go.
Nodding his head at her, Alphard makes his way out the study, where Alastor waits for him. "Well, that was a bit long," Alastor suspiciously said.
"Well, she is a girl," Alphard chuckled. "And you know how they are, wanting to get the perfect gift."
"Well, she is only what? Thirteen now?" Alastor swore. "Cripes, it's been that long, eh? Hard to believe."
"Yes, it's hard to believe," Alphard whispered as they stopped to use the main Prince manor fireplace to floo. Under green flames, they both floo'd away to the ministry, before heading over the funeral of Sara Vinovich. Needless to say, it was a heartbreaking service for them as they watched the casket of their once fierce friend be laid to rest beneath the stark ground with a warm sunny day overhead.