Seven Pointed Star

Chapter 14

Disclaimer: All characters, locations, and scenarios from the Harry Potter series are the sole property of J. K. Rowling, with all rights and ownership as have been legally determined by her or those with the authority to act in her name.

Author's Note: It feels so good to be writing again! Thank you to all of you who have ever reviewed this story—and those who took long enough to get past the incredibly mediocre beginning to the point where I got the feel of the story. Maybe I'll eventually rewrite that, but I rarely do such things. And I have read Tithe, as it turns out—after I began writing Seven Pointed Star and completed and published the first twelve chapters.
A giggle sounded, a trilling tone that echoed across the castle grounds. The cheerful laughter was echoed by a deeper chuckle, as rich if not richer, and the students enjoying the beautiful spring day sighed. Xanthe and Seif were unaware of the stir they were causing as they tumbled towards the Whomping Willow, and their playful tussling was only ceased at the exasperated sigh of one of the others gathered on the grass near the vengeful tree.

"If I wanted to watch you two rolling about than I would have you in the same class," Sers sneered, thoroughly annoyed at being dragged away from his potions for no apparent reason.

With another giggle, Xanthe settled herself, primly brushing grass from her pale spidersilk. Even after that there was a great deal of debris sticking to the gown and peering out of her gilded hair. "I'm sure Prince Seif has his reasons for asking us all here," she said smoothly, for all the world as though she had not just been wrestling on the lawn with her lover.

"Indeed," the Unselieghe Lord murmured, having removed the lawn from himself much more successfully than his Selieghe lady. "And that reason is Voldemort."

"That again?"

"This so-called Dark Lord is no concern of ours!"

"You need not worry yourself with such things, my prince."

Seif held up a hand to silence his three attendants. "On the contrary, Voldemort is most definitely our problem. Not only is the prophecy referring to his defeat voided because of the actions of our peoples, but I know him as well as any. He will not be content with just one world. He will keep searching, keep fighting, keep conquering, until he is finally vanquished. And the closest world to this one is ours. He must be stopped here, and he must be stopped now."

For a moment there was silence, and Seif observed those gathered around him. Hermione, looking scared but determined. Ron, his arm around her as though to protect her—when had those two started seeing each other?—his face a stoic mask. Neville nodding to himself, gazing at Luna as she hid in her hair across the rough circle from him. Harry solid and stoic, his lack of expression making Ron's look like a cheap mask. Ginny at his side, patting his knee soothingly, her eyes on the grass, her face troubled. Fisk looking grim, one hand tucked into Jinx's, the Unselieghe woman stunned. Vreyn looking thoughtful. Myghr a touch wary, nestled against a Sers whose face was a mix of hatred, annoyance, and some things that Seif couldn't quite place, things that he'd never seen in his teacher's face before. And Xanthe, his lovely Xanthe, smiling at him supportively, her hands clasped on her lap, trust shining from her brilliant eyes.

She was counting on him. She believed in him. That was why he could not let himself fail. He could not fail her.

"Do you have any idea how to do it?" Hermione's eyes were trained on Seif, her gaze intense.

Once that gaze would have made him squirm, but it had nothing on his mother's. The prince just smiled, nodding. "Some idea, yes. I do not know exactly, but I know where to begin."

She nodded, full of trust for her old friend. Why did so many trust him, heir to the Unselieghe throne? They weren't even scared to meet his eye. "I'm in."

"I'm always there for you, mate," Ron said a moment later, his voice gruff.

Ginny straightened, her gaze fiery. "Count me in."

"We are yours to command," Veryn said softly, and all three of his attendants dipped into sitting curtsies before settling themselves once more.

"I'm looking forward to that ignoramus's fall," Sers sneered. "You won't be able to get rid of me."

Xanthe leaned in to kiss Seif passionately. "Always my love."

"I will help as I can," Fisk said softly. "I agree that Voldemort must be dealt with before he becomes more of a threat, and it is in the best interest for the peace of our people—for we are one people, not two—for us to cooperate in this effort."

Neville and Harry shared a glance, and then Neville spoke. "We've been training for this all our lives. We're both in."

There was silence for a long moment, and then Luna looked up, her pale hair falling away from her face. "This Voldemort—he kills for the sake of killing, enjoys causing pain, seeks to posses others—correct?"

"That's right, Luna," Seif confirmed, gazing curiously at the girl who would never quite meet his eye.

Her gaze firmed, and a resolve showed in her unlike any that Seif had seen before. Neville was staring at her in shock, and even oh-so-stoic Harry was looking perturbed. Slowly, Luna Lovegood raised her eyes slowly from Seif's chin, up his nose, and met his eyes.

"I will do all that is in my power to assist in the permanent and unquestionable defeat of the one called Voldemort."

The heat in her eyes and voice startled the Crown Prince of the Unselieghe as much as her willingness to meet his eyes. Anger, hate, and pain warred with fear in those enormous pools, and Seif nearly shivered as he wondered what she had been through during her time in the Unselieghe Court and under Gael's control. It almost seemed as though she would be the most valuable asset there was in the fight against the Dark Lord.

Shaking himself slightly, Seif turned his attention back to those gathered in the shadow of the Whomping Willow. "I'm glad you all are willing, for the battle will be long and hard, and it will take some times before we take it to Voldemort. In the final stand, we will need seven. But before those seven are chosen, we must know how those seven are to stand."

"With honor," a silken voice said, a bare murmur; it took a moment for Seif to locate the source. "With truth," Sers continued, his voice a whisper on the wind. "With power. It must not just be defeat. It must be justice."

"Turn what he has done back against him," Hermione murmured, her brow furrowing thoughtfully. "Ritually bare him to the world, to himself, and punish him for his actions."

"For the end, ritual," Luna agreed, and Seif stared at her, his curiosity obvious in every fiber of his being. "But there will be much preparation before hand, especially if we intend to be a jury of sorts."

"The world's judges," Fisk murmured. "Or at least standing for them."

Jinx eyed Fisk, shaking her head softly, then spoke. "A high ambition, to judge him with the full authority of this world behind you."

"A high ambition, perhaps, but Voldemort must be judged," Xanthe said smoothly, as still as a statue as she locked her gaze on the Unselieghe woman. "Something must be done."

"Yes, something must be done, but what shall we do?"

There was silence for a moment after Sers's sharp question. What should they do? What could they do?

"We'll do our best," Ginny said finally. "And then, if that is not enough, we'll try again. I like the idea of judgment, though—if we can find something with that to defeat him . . . "

Hermione nodded. "Lots of research—we might even have to create spells and potions to use to make the final ritual work."

"Well, then, let's get that started." Seif sighed, reaching up to rub the base of his pert little horns. "Research. We have to do something that's never been done before—defeat Voldemort once and for all."

After a moment's silence, Harry stood, turning to walk silently back towards the castle. Ginny gaped after him for a moment, then hurried to join her boyfriend. Seif nodded, and the others slowly wandered off, alone or in pairs, until only the prince and his lover were left with Sers facing them and an uncertain Myghr hovering a few feet away.

"Yes, Sers?"

The Potions Master observed the young man before him before speaking, choosing his words carefully. "This sudden interest . . . actively looking for a way to defeat the Dark Lord . . . does this have anything to do with last week?"

Seif tilted his head to the side, one arm around Xanthe, his eyes locked on his sister's son. He could vaguely remember Kelle, remember her speaking of her son almost wistfully . . . "Why? It makes no real difference one way or the other."

Shaking his head ruefully, Sers stood. "I see. Thank you." With that he stood and swept off towards the castle, Myghr fluttering after him like a spark seeking charcoal. A moment later the golden laughter of the lovers sounded once more, echoing across the lake.