This is it, the final chapter of this story! And the final chapter of the Guardian tales as directly relates to the HP books. It's been a wonderful ride, and I thank you all for joining me on it. As to whether or not there will be sequels, I do not know. I have ideas, but no time. But I assure you of this, if I do get them written then they will get posted here for all to see. Any who wish to message me are, of course, welcome to. Encouragement is always welcome, and may well prod me into action.
My thanks, as always, to those of you who have read, and even more thanks to those who have reviewed.
To the ever faithful Hahukum Konn – Thanks! I do enjoy good wedding. I must admit, I've wanted to write that scene out for years. Thank you for all your reviews. Take care.
To the most excellent Zil – Glad you had fun at the wedding. Find here the epilogue, which is actually only 18 years in the future, since the wedding was one year in the future. Oh well. I offer my thanks to you as well, for reading, reviewing, and enjoying. Take care.
All the rest of y'all should review, too. Anyone reading this story, or any of my stories, long after I've finished posting is welcome to review. I enjoy hearing your thoughts and opinions; they make me a better writer. So please, press the blue button at the bottom of the page.
As always, I offer my standard warning. Text in italics is in Azkabaaner and I don't own HP.
Thank you, everyone.
Chapter 33 – Epilogue
It had been nineteen years since the great victory over the Dark Lord, hardly a blink of the non-existent eye by Dementor standards. It had been eighteen years since her marriage. Katie had been busy, easily growing into her role as queen. She had helped Esdras with the negotiations for many of the treaties between the magical countries where imperial states were located. She even held the top chaser spot on both the Azkaban Island and All-Empire Quidditch team. Esdras, however, was still beater for the island reserve team. She believed that this was merely because he didn't have the time for practice. As king, his workload was many times greater than hers. Whether he believed this or not was another matter entirely.
Still, no matter how heavy the workload, both king and queen could take one day a year for an unofficial holiday. It seemed that most of Azkaban took this day as a holiday, military personnel especially. Years of flying the route from London to Hogsmeade and back had become tradition for the Dementors, and Dementors do enjoy their traditions. Thusly, though it was no longer necessary, they would gather for a grand, impressive show of strength. On the first day of school, the Hogwarts Express always had a sizeable escort of Dementors when it pulled out of the station.
Katie readily admitted to herself that she was having trouble getting used to how little some things changed. The platform looked the same, the train looked the same, and she knew Hogwarts looked the same. Of course, she, too, looked the same. Though she had been married for eighteen of her thirty eight years, she didn't look a day over twenty two.
This was a fact that her good friends constantly reminded her of. Today was no exception. She was drawn from her thoughts by a familiar voice. "I hate you."
This voice had no malice, of course, and Katie only laughed at her old teammate. "What on earth do you mean, Lady Angelina?"
Lady Angelina Weasley scowled playfully, yet still curtsied politely. "You know exactly what I mean, Queen Katherine. Ever since you had the baby you haven't aged a day. It's sickening."
Katie shook her head and rolled her glowing brown eyes before taking her natural form. She had fulfilled the coronation promise of her wedding day and bore to the royal house of Demnin a Dementor heir, a prince of the realm. And as the divine provisions of Dementor immortality ordained, with the birth of her first child sixteen years ago, Katie became a Dementress. The god Demnin had spoken the truth; it was her first born child who gave her the gift of her supersolenoid.
Her animagus form had come quickly and easily, the memory of her mortal body. Now stripped of that, she towered over her friend, all of nine feet tall with an impossibly narrow waist. "Better?"
Angelina shook her head. "No, now I'm jealous of your waist."
Katie threw her hands up in the air and took her mortal form again. "I give up."
This sent the pair into a fit of laughter. Angelina smiled and gave her friend a tight hug. "I have to go and see to Fred and Roxanne. You'll see them both off at Hogsmeade, yes? You know how Fred loves you. He swears his year won't go right unless he sees you there."
The Dementress smiled at the thought of her dear friend's son, and of his namesake. She nodded happily. "Don't worry. If I don't find him, he'll find me. Even if he has to get his broom out and take to the air." They both laughed at this, knowing it had happened before. "Esdras and I will be putting on our usual the-kids-are-gone-to-Hogwarts dinner at the palace sometime next week. Can you and George make it?"
Angelina nodded. "We wouldn't miss it for the world. Just let me know when." She looked around. "By the way, where is Matthias?"
Prince Matthias Demnin, heir to the Azkaban throne, was resting comfortably in the arms of his mortal aunt, his hood wide with wonder at the sights before him. He was playing idly with her long blonde hair and only half listening to her as his father came to retrieve him. "Are you giving your aunt a hard time, my son?"
The princess turned and smiled brightly to the king, her voice as light and airy as ever. "No, my brother. He is being quite the perfect angel."
Esdras laughed and leaned down to kiss his sister on the forehead. "He would behave for you, my sister." He took the bundled cloakling and spun him around happily before releasing him gently into the air. "Alright, my son, it is time to let Aunt Luna see her family off. You will see her next week, if not before. We have to find Aunt Sasha and Uncle Jacob so they can take you back home."
The young cloakling nodded quickly to his father and gave his mortal aunt a hug and kiss before floating back into his father's arms. As they glided off, Matthias looked to his father. "Papa, how much of what Aunt Luna says is true?"
Esdras grinned to himself, but kept his voice even. "Your aunt believes everything she says, my son."
The cloakling nodded at this, though he really didn't understand what his father meant. He changed topics. "Papa, when can I fly to Hogwarts?"
The father sighed. This was not the first time they had had this conversation. "You can fly to Hogwarts when you can fly through the Shetland crosswinds unassisted. Then you will be strong enough to make the trip from London to Hogsmeade unassisted."
Matthias huffed angrily. "The crosswinds are strong! It will be so long before I can fly them."
Esdras nodded. "It could be years, even a decade. But you will grow stronger each day, and soon they will feel like a fine breeze."
The cloakling paled at the concept of so many years passing. "But Papa, if it takes years, then I will not be able to escort the train when my friends are on it! Not James or Albus or Hugo or Rose…or even Lily!"
The father nodded. "Yes, my son, but this is part of living with mortals. Their timeframe is so much shorter than ours. You may not be able to make the trip until their children are at Hogwarts." Esdras sighed and regarded his son quietly. "Perhaps the year after next, and only if your mother agrees. But just that once and only because all five of them will be in school at once…I think. How on earth their parents keep track of them all is beyond me." Esdras sighed. "Anyway, you must be good and listen to your flight instructors if this is to happen."
His son was still babbling happily about the mysterious trip to Hogwarts when Esdras finally found his sister by acclamation and brother in law. Lord Jacob and Lady Sasha Torrent had their hands full with their other nephew and niece, Lord Jacob and Lady Calla Reaping. Rather, the elder Jacob had his hands full while a very heavily pregnant Sasha was intent on stretching her back. Esdras was loath to add one more cloakling into the mix and sighed as he handed off his son. "I can't thank you enough for agreeing to take them all back to Azkaban."
Jacob waved aside his concerns with a casual salute. "It's not a problem. I've made the trip to Hogsmeade before and I'll make it again. I'm not about to leave Sasha with her so close to her due date, though. She was barely able to convince me to let her come in the first place."
The pregnant Dementress groaned as she took the young Demnin cloakling into her arms. "I'm beginning to wish I hadn't been so forceful."
Esdras chuckled slightly and turned to his brother in law. "And I believe that would be your cue to return to the island. If you'll excuse me, I have a wife to find and a navy to lead."
The navy was easy enough to find. Thousands of Dementors were milling above London. The uppermost echelon of the Azkaban Navy was waiting in the station for the train to depart, though. They would be the honor guard and fly with the train. A few other fleets would take responsibility for point and flank, but the majority would be sweeping along behind the train, simply there for show and a fine day's flight in the Scottish countryside.
The wife, on the other hand, in her mortal form, tended to blend in. Esdras eventually spotted her up ahead and glided down the platform to come to rest beside her, placing an arm around her waist. He nodded politely to her companions. "Lord Harry, Lady Ginevra, Lord Ronald, Lady Hermione."
Each nodded in turn and Ron looked around to the multitude of cloaked forms in the air above the train. "Is this really necessary each year?"
Esdras shook his hood. "Absolutely not, but it certainly is fun. You're more than welcome to join us if you want. I could use your old Dumbledore's Army commissions and give you proper Azkaban Navy commissions. You could be admirals."
All laughed at this, but Ginny glared playfully. "My commission was as a lieutenant. I'd be a lowly ensign."
Katie grinned and elbowed her husband. "Do you really think your promotion to the admiralty wouldn't be approved? After all, the king is the one who signs off on them."
Ginny regarded Esdras for a second before shrugging her shoulders. "Good point."
Esdras chuckled and looked to the train. He could recognize a few faces in the windows by parentage. He returned the smile and wave of his goddaughter, Lenore Davies. He was reminded of the fact that her father had taken a certain pleasure in mentioning that she had inherited her mother's grace at dodging bludgers and was putting her skills to work for a proper team…Ravenclaw. He gave another long look up and down the train before he returned to the conversation. Katie, however, noticed the distracted look in his glowing eyes and gave him a quick nudge. "Knut for your thoughts?"
The king smiled slightly. "Oh, it's nothing profound. It's just that I never could have imagined my life turning out this way when I first got on that train."
The queen nodded and leaned into her husband. "I know what you mean. I got on the train for the first time over a quarter of a century ago with no idea that I would find the most precious thing in my life."
Esdras looked curiously at her. "The crown of the Queen of Azkaban?"
Katie laughed and cuffed her husband hard on the shoulder. "My family, you great cloaked idiot."
Ron smirked at this but gestured to his best friend. "Regardless, I think Harry wins in regards to how his life changed thanks to that train."
The laughter of the six friends was drowned out by the train whistle. The Hogwarts Express was ready to depart. Esdras' hood chimed and Aaron Reaping's voice came through the connection. "It's time to get this show on the road, my brother."
The Dementor nodded and opened the link. "On my way, Aaron."
Katie smiled to the four mortals before taking her natural form, towering over them. "You'll all come to dinner next week, won't you?"
They were met with nods and made their goodbyes before taking to the air and hovering near the engine. Aaron was waiting for them, fiddling with the narrow platinum band of his cloak. He chuckled softly. "Took you long enough, I was wondering if you'd ever show."
Esdras grumbled at his brother as the great train sighed to life, slowly pulling out of the station. He tapped his hood and opened his communication charm to all the assembled Dementors. "Attention all Azkaban troops, the Hogwarts Express is en route. Let's do it!"
Within seconds, they were free of the station and flying in the sun. Within minutes, they were free of the city limits. Within hours, they were flying fast over the beautiful countryside. And at long last, as the sun grew low on the horizon, the Dementors were finally able to see the towers of the castle. Katie stared intently at the school for a long time. Finally, she turned her attention to her husband. "Do you think they will have a quiet year at Hogwarts this year?"
Esdras turned to his wife and thought about this for a second. Then he looked to the horizon. The sun was dipping behind the castle and the evening sky was a palette of colors. He shook his hood slowly, his voice confident and happy. "No, my dear. I imagine this year will be an adventure."
THE END of ENDGAME
But don't worry, Esdras and Katie Demnin have plenty of stories left to live.
Their adventures are just beginning.
This I promise you.