Hello everyone! I apologize for the long wait, been a busy few months. Needless to say, I appreciate the support from all of you who have stuck with me. :)

Quick recap, the main parts of last chapter was Hadrian meeting Hermione, Daphne admitting to past abuse, Bellatrix learning the full truth from Severus, the Dark Lord showing Hadrian memories of his mother during occlumency lessons, and Dumbledore faking Harry Potter's death.

Now, time skip! Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter obviously, it belongs to J.K.R. I only have rights to unrecognizable plot and characters.

Three Years Later

The circular room was shrouded by a cloud of excited uneasiness as the many men and women cloaked in black waited for their master. The meeting was unexpected, sudden. They knew only that an important announcement was to be made, one that would change the course of the war.

Hadrian Riddle watched them behind a heavy hood. His emerald eyes scanned the area coolly, only pausing when they rested on the inner circle. His uncles, Lucius Malfoy and Barty Crouch Jr., were in deep conversation, and, next to them, Severus Snape stared forward with a bored expression. Bellatrix Lestrange was whispering in his ear with a sinister smile, attempting to ruffle Severus if Hadrian were to bet. The Dark Prince smirked at the exchange.

In the three years that had passed Hadrian had been trained extensively by these four individuals in areas such as politics, warding, charms, transfiguration, the dark arts, defense studies, and physical combat. Outside of these classes were spent in the presence of his father, in personal study, or with his friends.

Within a year he had mastered both occlumency and legilimency, and during that time he and his father had frequent discussions of his memories. Hadrian remains convinced it had taken the whole year to master the mental arts, despite having the most accomplished teacher in the world, mainly because they often spent the majority of the lessons not practicing the mind arts. When Hadrian brought that up, his father only raised his eyebrows and smirked.

But despite his complaints, Hadrian was eternally grateful to his father and the time he had dedicated to his recovery. He no longer flinched away from his father, or anyone for that matter. The thought of self-harm was out of the question, as he knew his father would promptly murder him, and the desire had lessened over time. Hadrian was more than ready to kill Dumbledore at the first chance he got. Sometimes he was plagued with doubts, usually over his own value or importance, but his father possessed enough arrogance for the both of them.

It had been a challenge. His father was a down-right bastard on the best of days. But he cared, more than anyone had ever cared for him. And Hadrian was constantly reminded by Lucius, Severus, and all his friends that he was loved. All the struggles were worth that satisfaction.

Harry did regret that his recovery had slowed down the progression of the war, although his father rejected his attempt to take the brunt of the blame. His father said he decided to slowly build his army rather than hurry into any direct conflict, as his first downfall was a reminder of how quickly any success can collapse. He gained more allies, including many magical creatures and international leaders. Lord Obolensky was one of three ministers of magic that decided to join in on the fight. Many others had chosen to remain neutral, or to simply provide funds. His father had planned for the future, waiting for his son to be ready at full strength to stand beside him. And, almost exactly three years later, that day had arrived.

From Hadrian's hidden position near the front door, he waited with bated breath for his father to enter the room. A few minutes ticked by before there was movement. The Dark Lord, cloaked in dark green robes, entered the front of the room. He elegantly raised his right hand as his followers all bowed in respect.

"Welcome, my friends," his father began, with all the authority only a born leader could possess. "We continue to grow in number, in strength, and in power in our pursuit toward a better age of wizardry." The Dark Lord paused, his red eyes scanning the cheering masses of followers. His eyes moved to Hadrian's direction. "My followers," he started again, and the noise immediately silenced. "My followers, today we introduce a new member of our movement and an integral part to our success."

Hadrian raised his head, straightened his silver mask, and gracefully walking forward in the empty isle past the rows of followers. He stopped at the foot of the stairs that led up to his expectant father. Hadrian fell to one knee, his head bowed.

"Rise," his father commanded.

Hadrian fluidly stood, his eyes meeting his father's directly before turning to face the crowds.

"In honor of our new member, and the number of other followers who have recently joined us, anyone willing may participate in a dueling competition," his father announced. With a flick of his hand, a dueling bracket appeared in the center of the chamber. Floating in the air, its translucent writing shimmered like a ghost. "All regulation dueling rules apply, with the only restriction being the killing curse. Unnecessary deaths are wasteful." His red eyes narrowed. "You may begin."

Unsurprisingly, Bellatrix was the first to add her name to the floating bracket, flicking her wand briskly to inscribe her name. Barty soon joined her, as well as the remainder of the inner circle. Hadrian watched with interest as many others bravely pitted themselves against the inner circle, particularly the younger followers. When the mass crowds died down, Hadrian approached the board himself. Whispers echoed around him, curious faces watching his movement as he slowly inscribed a name no one but the inner circle would recognize: Hadrian Riddle. He turned with a flourish, his robes flowing behind him as he moved to join the inner circle.

His father transfigured the area in front of his throne from marble stairs to a flat platform. He slowly sat in his gold carved throne, rolling his wand between his thumb and middle fingers.

"Let the dueling begin!" he announced.

Hadrian glanced at the now established bracket. He smirked when he read the name of his first opponent, Barty Crouch. The man in question stood beside him with a grimace. A few duels past and Harry watched them calmly while he waited for his turn. Eventually their names were called. Laughter followed, many commenting loudly on the unbalanced roster. Barty was a renowned fighter, one of the most vicious Death Eaters.

Hadrian jumped onto the platform, grinning viciously behind his mask. The majority of the other duelers had removed their masks, but Hadrian of course would not to protect his identity. He looked too much like his father. Barty stood across from him, trying his best to appear unaffected but Hadrian noticed a sense of resignation. They both bowed from either side of the platform, as is customary, before falling into fighting stance.

Barty fired the first spells. Harry side-stepped the trio of yellow blurs, smirking. He responded with a cutting curse, which Barty promptly deflected. Harry moved to the attack, firing a mixture of curses at his former instructor. Barty rapidly shielded himself, gritting his teeth when the power of Hadrian's blasting spell destroyed his shield. Barty attempted to catch him by surprise within the following five minutes, electing on defending first and then countering, but one well-aimed stunner blew by his shield.

Hadrian lowered his wand to a silenced crowd, amused by their astonishment. He stepped down from the platform elegantly as a nearby Death Eater removed the stunner from Barty.

Severus and Lucius both battled within the next few matches and easily defeated their opponents. Bellatrix, with her characteristic wild mane and even crazier expression, knocked a young man off the platform with one precise strike.

It was now Harry's turn again. He moved towards the platform, but stopped when a body shoved into him. Bored, he turned to face his opposition: Dolohov.

"Beating Crouch was luck, you filthy little half-blood," he hissed.

Hadrian observed him silently for a few moments before climbing up onto the platform. He was unsurprised that Dolohov assumed he was a half-blood. Riddle, after all, was a muggle name. Hadrian smirked. If only Dolohov knew who he was really insulting. His eyes flickered over to his father briefly before he prepared himself to fight.

"Imperio!" Dolohov hissed, completely skipping over the pleasantries of bowing.

Hadrian made no effort to move, allowing the spell to wash over him. Dolohov was known for his expertise at this particular curse, and Hadrian had planned he would use it. So predictable. Dolohov grinned in triumph, oblivious to his failure in gaining control.

"Not so tough now, are you?" he mocked. "Get on your knees and bow to me."

Hadrian moved as if he were fighting the curse, but inside remained calm and collected.

"Crucio," the Dark Prince whispered.

Dolohov, in his surprise, was unable to avoid the torture curse. He fell with a scream, twisting in pain on the ground. Harry slowly approached him, calling the man's wand to him silently, and quickly cancelled the spell as he caught the object in his other hand.

He never liked that curse, mostly because of how often it had been used on him, but he reserved it for certain occasions. For example, any insult directed toward his father.

Dolohov remained on the ground, shaking, as Harry threw the man's wand back to him.

"Come now. I'm sure it didn't hurt that bad," Hadrian mocked. "After all, I am just a filthy half-blood."

It was the first time Hadrian had really spoken, and the nearby Death Eaters stiffened at his biting words. Others stared at him in shock for another reason - he sounded younger than they expected.

Hadrian stalked off the stage, smirking when he noticed a gleam of approval on his father's face. Some of the closer Death Eaters looked away as he walked by, afraid to meet his eyes. Fear, he realized. Just like his father.

The next matches were a blur. Harry and the inner circle quickly destroyed all competition. A few of the young followers endured throughout the majority of the tournament, but finally only four remained: Severus Snape, Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange, and Hadrian.

Hadrian noticed Severus relax slightly when he was set to face Lucius rather than Bellatrix or himself. Bellatrix smirked at him, subtly squeezing his hand when she thought no one would notice. Harry and his godfather exchanged amused looks.

The duel between Lucius and Severus was exhilarating. Lucius displayed extraordinary technical abilities, even transfiguring a large wolf near the middle of the battle. Severus, on the other hand, exhibited raw power. With a flick of his wand, the wolf was beheaded. The duel could have gone either way. In fact, Hadrian had witnessed both win on numerous occasions. Severus and Lucius were like brothers and often practiced against each other. Today, Lucius held the bragging rights. The blonde had subtly edged the Potions Master closer and closer to the edge and, after a wide array of spells, blasted him with a torrent of water. The Slytherin Head of House was knocked against a nearby wall, disqualified for falling out of bounds.

Hundreds of eyes then turned to the most powerful witch in the Dark Lord's army, and perhaps his most devoted, and on Hadrian, the young newcomer who has demonstrated astonishing skill.

"I apologize, Bella, but I'm afraid I'm about to ruin your reputation," Hadrian whispered to her, grinning behind his mask. "No hard feelings."

She smirked. "Cockiness becomes you, my prince," she murmured.

They parted to take their positions on either side of the platform. They bowed briefly before both launching in a long chain of spells. Hadrian rolled to his left to avoid a blasting curse, his eyes narrowed as he responded silently with a burst of fire. Bellatrix quickly countered the fire with water, sweating as the fire started to slowly overcome the water. When she could practically taste the heat, she saw no other option but to cancel her spell and jump to her right. The fire flew past her like a rocket, and she was barely able to stand before Hadrian fired a stunner at her. Twisting out of the way, she responded with a combination of cutting curses and torture curses. The Dark Prince shielded himself swiftly, but was forced to dodge when a cutting curse slipped past his shield. He gripped his left arm, his hand soaked in blood. She hesitated for a split second before moving to cast a stunner, but she suddenly found herself falling. In the next instant she was disarmed, and she looked down to see the ground below her covered in ice.

She grinned. Sneaky. He must have silently turned the water to ice when she was distracted by the blood.

He tossed her wand back to her as she climbed to her feet. Immediately after he quietly turned his wand toward his shoulder and the gash slowly began to close. The blood was vanished the next instant, and the only remainder of the injury was a ruined set of robes.

Hadrian turned to the watching Death Eaters, smirking at their stunned silence. He had to applaud his father for this idea. Certainly, it has gained him respect.

Lucius replaced Bella on the platform, trying his best to remain composed. He offered his godson a small nod, clearly impressed by his sly tactic over the sharp Bellatrix. They bowed, but unlike Bellatrix they both waited, observing each other carefully.

Lucius had been his main instructor when the Dark Lord was absent. As such, they knew the other's tactics as well as they knew their own.

"Well, shall we begin?" Lucius murmured.

And, with that, the duel started. After trading a series of blows, both to no success, Lucius transfigured and threw numerous boulders at Hadrian. With a flick of his wand, Hadrian turned the boulders into dust and quickly directed it towards the blonde. He followed the dust up with numerous spells and curses, hoping to catch Lucius off guard. He caught his godfather with a small burst of fire, but Lucius managed to avoid all but a minor burn on his leg. Deciding to show off to his godfather, Hadrian transfigured a large cobra, smirking.

"Attack, my friend," Hadrian hissed, waving his wand to place protective spells on the creature. "Don't bite or kill the man, but intimidate him."

Gasps echoed around the hall at the parseltongue but Hadrian tuned all their whispers out. He had a match to win.

The snake slithered to his target, who watched the snake with narrowed eyes. Lucius attempted to both banish and slice the snake, but Hadrian's protective spells held true. With the snake in striking position, Lucius stepped closer and closer to the edge. In his distracted state it was simple for Hadrian to summon his wand. Hadrian banished the snake, smirking at his victory.

Applause erupted in the room, and Hadrian bowed elegantly to the impressed Death Eaters. Some simply stared in shock, amazed to see the inner circle wiped away by a new member. Suddenly the room was silenced, and Hadrian turned to see his father approaching him. He bowed his head briefly before straightening to meet his father's approving gaze.

"Shall we let them in on my secret then?" Hadrian whispered, a hint of amusement in his voice.

The Dark Lord fought back a smirk as he looked away and raised his head high. Anticipation bubbled around the room as the hundreds of witches and wizards waited for their lord to speak.

"My followers, I am pleased to introduce to you my son and heir, Hadrian Marvolo Slytherin!"

Hadrian removed his mask with a flourish, his emerald eyes coldly surveying the crowd. Gasps echoed around as they examined this young man who looked almost identical to their Dark Lord.

"All hail the Dark Prince! All hail the Dark Lord!" Lucius called out, falling to his knees.

Hadrian watched as the hosts of Death Eaters followed suit, falling in submission to their new young lord. His head held high, he turned to look at his father.

This is where he belongs, and this is who he is - the Dark Prince.

"I heard the coronation went well," Daphne murmured, running her hand down his arm absently as she curled into his side on the armchair. A fire danced nearby, warming them during the chilling winter day.

Hadrian smiled, his eyes trailing over her porcelain skin. "Yes, very well," he agreed. "I wish you could have seen their faces." He laughed lightly at the thought.

She grinned. "I can imagine. And I cannot wait to join in the fight against Dumbledore and his pathetic band of muggle-loving sheep."

Hadrian grinned before kissing her lightly on the lips. She responded eagerly, but then suddenly pulled back. He raised his eyebrows.

"Even if I'm not marked, I plan on fighting with you at the Final Battle," she said seriously. "You know that, right?"

Part of him wanted to scream for her to stay and be safe, but he knew better than to suggest that. "I would have no better fighting partner," he whispered in her ear.

She smiled against his neck, pleased. "I was worried you would insist that we all sat out."

"You are all a stubborn group, and I know you can handle yourself. But I expect you to increase your training before that day comes."

"Of course," the blonde murmured, her eyes gleaming in excitement. "Do you think your father will lessen your own training so you can train us yourself?"

Hadrian laughed. "Unlikely, but I can try to be persuasive."

"You're very good at that," Daphne admitted.

"Learned from the best," Hadrian quipped. "With Lucius Malfoy, Severus Snape, Bellatrix Lestrange, and the Dark Lord as your instructors it's hard not to be."

Daphne grinned. "Well, do you think you could persuade Lucius to give you the rest of the afternoon off so I don't have to go home?"

Hadrian raised his eyebrows, thinking rapidly, and a plan began to formulate in his mind. "I'll see what I can do."

It turns out Hadrian did have the afternoon off when Nagini somehow got to Malfoy Manor and started to create panic and havoc. Lucius was too knackered afterwards to suspect Hadrian, but the Dark Lord eyed him knowingly the following day when he heard.

"Hadrian, I admire the cunning," his father said seriously, "but I do not condone you skipping your training. Miss Greengrass will be here after the war. For now you must focus on what is truly important."

Hadrian nodded sheepishly in agreement, but there was a glint of concern in his normally confident expression. "Father," he began hesitantly, "what if I am killed? What about my friends? What if now is all the time we have left?"

The Dark Lord raised his eyebrows. "You best not talk like that around them," he cautioned. "You are not simply their friend. As my son, naturally you will also have the burden of being their leader. Your confidence becomes their confidence, but your fear also becomes their fear. Hadrian, be careful how you voice your concern, unless it is around myself."

Hadrian nodded his understanding, suddenly feeling a bit overwhelmed.

As if sensing this, his father calmly placed a hand on his shoulder. "I have complete faith in you, as do your friends. There is a reason I am going to allow you to train them. If you remain confident in their skills, they will also feel confident." He took a deep breath, his red eyes suddenly piercing. "Hadrian, you must mentally accept the possibility of casualties, as it is a war." His father held out his free hand to stop him from interrupting. "But in this next month you will be able to help them fully prepare. You must put aside all personal feelings when you train them and do not hold back. The minute the training starts you are no longer their friend, but instead their leader. Do this and they will be as prepared as they can be."

Hadrian thoughtfully considered what his father had said before slowly nodding. "Very well," he said quietly. "I trust your judgment. I will do as you say."

The Dark Lord's lips curved up slightly. "Good, good." He paused, thoughtfully eyeing his son. His red gaze fell on a gold locket hanging around his neck. "And something tells me you will not have to worry about losing your own life, Hadrian," he said slowly. "If the time comes that you are in severe danger, I will know."

Before Hadrian could ask how, the Dark Lord fluidly moved past him. The dark-haired prince watched his father leave thoughtfully, a sinking suspicious settling within his stomach. He gripped the locket, his brain racing with possible answers.

He spent the remainder of his free time that day in the library, as well as the rest of his free time the whole week. Hermione would have been proud.

"Hadrian, come in."

The black-haired young man pushed open the door of his father's office and promptly plopped down on the black arm chair in front of his father's desk. His father looked up from piles of paper with a single eyebrow raised.

Hadrian followed the lord's pointed gaze and smirked at his feet on his father's desk.

"Perhaps you need more lessons from Narcissa on etiquette, hmm?"

Rapidly, Hadrian pulled his feet off the desk. "No need," he said quickly. Quickly, he dusted off the table with his hand. "See, all good?"

His father smirked. "Using her as a threat is always effective. I don't know how Lucius manages to be married to the woman."

Hadrian coughed, incredulous. "He's worse than she is!" he exclaimed.

"Indeed." His father chuckled. "Now what is it you wanted?"

Hadrian suddenly stiffened, a solemn frown replacing his amused smirk. He slowly reached under his robes to grab his recent Christmas present, and he raised the locket carefully. Realization flooded over the Dark Lord's face as he observed the Slytherin heirloom.

"I wondered how long it would take you," he murmured.

"I was sure of it this morning, but I've suspected for months," Hadrian murmured. "You did, after all, almost tell me when I first arrived here. I'm surprised you never did say it."

The Dark Lord watched his son carefully. "And I am equally surprised you never asked," he replied simply. "It didn't pose any danger, and we had other concerns at the time. I didn't feel it was necessary to burden you with any more worries."

"The fact that I have part of my father's soul in my body is not really something I would label unnecessary," Hadrian spoke evenly, but his emerald eyes were narrowed. "And giving me this-" he broke off, motioning to the locket angrily. "How could you give me so much responsibility without even telling me? I cannot even fathom the idea of having lost it, or-"

"I have complete faith in you, my son," the Dark Lord interrupted calmly, completely relaxed despite Hadrian's burst of anger. "I trust no one more with such a delicate object." He suddenly smirked. "Plus, I've seen you eyeing it for weeks now. You wanted the Slytherin locket from the moment you saw it. You would never lose it."

"It's because the locket horcrux knows I have one in me too," Hadrian admitted through gritted teeth. "I could never understand my fascination with the darn trinket until now."

The Dark Lord nodded slightly, his fingers drumming the table as he waited for Hadrian to continue.

"It just makes so much sense now," Hadrian breathed, closing his eyes in thought. "Seeing visions of you, feeling your emotions... and vice versa."

"It may be possible to remove it, if you would rather-"

"What?" Hadrian exclaimed, interrupting his father in his shock. "Father, this is a piece of your soul we are talking about. I would never discard it like a pair of old socks!"

"Hadrian, you are my son," he said softly, his amber eyes deadly serious. "My studies show that you most likely would have no negative reaction with the horcrux within you, but there is still a chance it may affect your health."

Hadrian straightened, his emerald eyes fearlessly meeting his father's gaze. "I lasted seventeen years, three of those in your presence. I refuse to allow any action until it proves dangerous."

The Dark Lord observed his son for a long moment before finally nodding his acceptance. "Very well, Hadrian. I will do more research on it, of course, and if I have any concerns I will take action immediately."

"No, you are far too busy with preparations," the dark-haired prince protested. "It's unnecessary, surely-"

"You are the most important part of this war," the Dark Lord rebutted, a frown settling over his aristocratic face. "I thought you recognized that by now."

Hadrian sighed, knowing better than to argue but still frustrated over monopolizing more of his father's limited time.

"I'll expect you to assist me, of course," the Dark Lord added.

Hadrian nodded grudgingly, relieved that his father at least would allow him to help. "Of course, Father." He stood suddenly. "I will start immediately, as soon as I finish practicing my de-warding training." He bowed gracefully, but stopped when the Dark Lord raised a hand for him to stop.

"Stay, Hadrian," he said firmly. "You may finish your work later tonight. For now, I would like your opinion on a few of the details for the attack."

Hadrian obeyed, inwardly pleased for his father's trust, and he listened carefully as the Dark Lord started to discuss the upcoming battle. The only indication of their earlier conversation was Hadrian's constant fingering of the Slytherin locket.

Protecting the horcrux in the locket, as well as within his own body, was the most important mission of all.

The next three weeks passed quickly until the day arrived for the attack on Hogwarts. Hadrian slowly pulled on his pitch black robes, but he left the silver mask in the dresser.

Today, there would be no hiding his true appearance.

Taking a deep breath, he reached for the Slytherin Locket, which he had never removed since he had received it. Slowly, he pulled the locket over his head and placed it next to his Death Eater mask. He would not risk the locket falling into the wrong hands if he was captured or killed in today's battle.

The thought of dying should have scared him, as he was about to enter battle, but he was confident in their victory. And he would do anything in his power to live. He did not want to die. And he also realized that his death would most likely result in the destruction of the horcrux within him. Yes, he must survive this battle.

His eyes swept his room one last time, recalling the first time he had entered its walls. So much had changed in the space of three years. Taking a deep breath, he walked through the door, only to be met by a group of familiar faces.

Hadrian stopped at the sight of Daphne, Draco, Theo, Blaise, Pansy, and Hermione.

"Ready?" Draco drawled, smirking as he twirled his wand between his fingers.

"I thought you were meeting us at Hogwarts," Hadrian replied, raising his eyebrows. "Has something gone wrong? Why have you breached protocol?"

"We wanted to face this together," Hermione said, releasing her hold on Theo's hand as she stepped forward confidently. Her almond eyes blazed with passion as they met Hadrian's respectfully.

Hadrian knew full well that they were waiting for his permission. Today, he was no longer their friend but their commander, just as it had been in training.

Hadrian finally nodded his acceptance after a long minute of silence. "Very well," he said seriously. "Come. My father is waiting."

The Great Hall of Hogwarts buzzed with noise as the students began eating their evening meal. Albus Dumbledore observed his students thoughtfully, taking note of the absence of most of the seventh year Slytherins. How very suspicious.

He turned to his left to meet the cold ebony gaze of his Potions Master, Severus Snape. "Do you happen to know where your Seventh Year students are, Severus?"

Snape raised a single eyebrow, his emotionless face examining the Slytherin table. "I'm afraid not, Headmaster," he said coolly. "But they will be dealt with, I assure you."

"Of course, Severus," Dumbledore agreed calmly, but a small frown settled over his face.

Something was not right. He could feel it in his magic. He glanced over at his spy, opening his mouth to begin a round of questioning on Riddle's latest movements, when he felt the shift in the atmosphere.

The high-pitched blare suddenly silenced the Great Hall as students clutched their ears in panic. Screams echoed the hall, the students in a panic over the painful noise that seemed to be reverberating within their own heads. Dumbledore fought against the foreign magic, attempting to stand to calm the students, when a voice cut through the high-pitched buzz. The students stilled in fear.

"Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," the cool and commanding voice Dumbledore recognized instantly began. "I am Lord Slytherin, the Dark Lord. As your Headmaster would have you believe, I wish to massacre all innocents within your school. Your Headmaster lies. " The last phrase reverberated around the hall eerily as Dumbledore furiously tried to block the incoming magic with no avail. "I do not want to spill magical blood, pure or not. I do not want to kill you. For those who wish to stand against us, any efforts of fighting are futile. Choose to be neutral, and we will spare your lives. Choose to be neutral, and Magical Britain will once again rise to its full glory. You have an hour to decide."

Albus Dumbledore rose in a furious rage, his aura flaring around him at the audacity of his former student. He spun to accuse his former spy who had clearly betrayed him, but Severus Snape was gone.

He, Albus Dumbledore, had been completely and utterly fooled.

The anticipation was sending thrills down his spine as Hadrian stood confidently next to his father on the crest of land hanging luminously over the Black Lake. In their eye of sight was the mighty castle of Hogwarts, standing in the shadow of the falling sun. Hadrian impatiently turned back to face the sea of followers, buzzing with a mixture of nerves, fear, and excitement as he waited for his father to begin the attack. Close to him was the Inner Circle, as well as their children. Daphne raised her head, meeting his gaze with an arrogant smirk.

Abnormal silence hung in the air as the army waited for their lord. Hadrian watched curiously as his father stared with great intensity into the depths of the ebony lake. The Dark Lord suddenly threw off his heavy hood and also turned to face the crowd of followers. With all the authority only a born leader could possess, he started to speak.

"Today marks a new age, where our war efforts reach their height. Our children will remember this day and the following days for years to come, and our triumph over the corruption of our opposition will be recorded in the pages of our history." The Dark Lord paused, his red eyes gleaming as they scanned the enthralled mass of followers. His eyes met Hadrian's momentarily before moving back to stare into the crowd. "Today, we attack the symbol of Dumbledore's power. Today, we attack Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."

A chill ran down Hadrian's spine as his father spun around, wand out, and blasted the wards of Hogwarts with an enormous power that buckled the ward momentarily. Hadrian raised his own wand, frantically joining his father's efforts by beginning the de-warding process with the Inner Circle.

Within minutes, the ancient protective wards of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry fell under the combined magic of the most powerful wizards and witches of the century.

Hadrian took a deep breath as his father gave the cue to begin disapparating.

Today, he would finally face Albus Dumbledore, and the true nature of Dumbledore would be revealed. Today, he would put an end to the horrors that had haunted him for 17 years.

Meeting his father's intense gaze, and receiving a firm nod in approval, Hadrian apparated to the grounds of the place he used to call home.

IMPORTANT AN: There ends chapter 17! I promised 17 chapters and an epilogue but I was unable to condense all of my material into this last chapter. Thus, you all get an extra unplanned chapter, number 18! I hope to have the next installment out within a few weeks. Thank you all for your lovely reviews, and I hope you enjoyed this last chapter. Please comment! :)

Next chapter: The Final Battle has finally arrived, but will their preparations be enough? Hadrian faces Dumbledore and a few old faces, the truth is revealed, and a shocking discovery is made that will change Hadrian's future forever!

Until next time... happy reading! :)