A/N If you are reading this story for the first time, don't be put off by the shorter chapters in the beginning; I assure you that they get much longer as the story goes on. The prologue is very different to the rest of the story, which will be narrated from Armilla's point of view. This story was completed over nearly three years and in that time the characters certainly developed during the journey I spent with them. I hope you enjoy the story as much as the readers who followed it at the time I was writing it. I still welcome any feedback. I am currently working on the sequel to this story, so if you enjoy Armilla I recommend you read her continuing story. Coral Grace.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Harry Potter characters or storyline created by the wonderful J.K. Rowling. Armilla Kemp is my own original character.
Not a sound could be heard in the dark, deserted street. The leaves on trees were quite still with the absence of a breeze. The chill in the air was enough to create an intense feeling of discomfort in the atmosphere. Every building in the street was in complete ruin. Shattered glass lay on the road amongst the once loved possessions of the inhabitants. What was perhaps the most disturbing thought was that only half an hour before, the lights had been on in every house, laughter had come from the families inside, and their televisions could be heard through the open windows by the night strollers walking their dogs.
But now, all was quiet as a group of Aurors and workers from the Ministry of Magic made their way into the street. Any conversation was minimal as they all took in the horrific scene before them.
"You-Know-Who has a sick sense of fun," a gruff voice muttered.
"Do you think it was him directly?" came another, younger voice.
"Of course not," the gruff voice answered. "He wouldn't carry out something like this himself. He'd save himself for people who are a threat to him in the wizarding community. This street was all muggle. He's sent out his followers to do this."
Three more people came to join the group after inspecting one side of the street.
"Any survivors?" said one of the people, her tone giving away that she had asked a pointless question. Rescuers.
"No, no survivors."
The group split up and they wandered throughout the ruins of the houses, looking for traces of dark magic or any evidence pointing directly to Death Eaters. At one end of the street, a faint cry was suddenly heard.
"What the…?" A woman ran into the ruins of the last house, hoping to hear the cry again to give her some direction. Her hopes were answered by another muffled cry, coming from underneath a small pile of debris.
"What is it, Merle?"
"It's a baby! Get the others and come quick. The child is scarcely breathing."
A group had crowded around Merle within seconds. Each was stunned that this baby could have been found alive. A few had their wands pointed at the child and were muttering enchantments to help her breathe better before they took her to St Mungo's.
"She must have lost her parents," said a sad voice. "Poor little muggle."
"What is that flashing on the child's wrist?"
Merle looked down at the left wrist of the child in her arms. The child was wearing a silver bracelet with no clasp. It had a small oval-shaped locket attached to it with an emerald on it. The emerald was now flashing and giving off a faint, green beam of light.
"What on earth is that thing?" someone asked.
"That baby is no muggle," said one of the Aurors. "That bracelet holds an extremely powerful piece of magic. Several hundred of those bracelets were produced a thousand years ago and only witches could wear them. The magic within them helps protect the wearer when in peril. It will not save the wearer from death, but will prolong it. That must be why the child is still alive."
"How on earth do you know that, Rolf?"
Rolf smiled grimly. "My wife has one; a constant reminder of her pureblood heritage. Seeing as she despises her family and everything they stand for, she loathes that fact that she can't get it off."
"But where would a muggle born child have gotten one of these?"
Rolf shook his head. "The child must be a pureblood. These bracelets are only worn by witches in the pureblood families. It is odd though that this child should be in a muggle neighbourhood."
"We're best getting her off to St Mungo's now," said another Auror, taking charge. "We can worry about where the family is later."
"Dead, I would say, Clarence," said Rolf, staring at the ruins around him.
"Try and be a little optimistic, Rolf," said Merle, glancing up from the baby in her arms. "I do hope she has a family, poor little thing."
"Will you two take her to St Mungo's?" asked Clarence. "You can meet us back at the ministry later."
"Certainly," Merle answered, staring down at the baby once more. "She's such a dear little thing, isn't she?"
"Now isn't the time to go all maternal on us, Merle," said Rolf gruffly, steering her out of the street.
Merle glared back at him. "Maternal indeed! I won't have time to be maternal towards the child. I'm just leaving her at St Mungo's where I'm sure the Family Services department will do their best to track down her family. This will be a distant memory in a few weeks time, so let me enjoy holding her now."
Rolf rolled his eyes as Merle cooed at the baby. He tried not to smile as the baby fixed Merle with a bewildered look instead of a giggle, which Merle had clearly been hoping for.
"Don't get too attached, Merle," he said, as they moved to a safe place to Disapparate. "If the child does have family, I'm sure they'll be prejudiced old fools just like my wife's family."