Chapter 1

The whole Snape family had come together for the World Cup, played in Belsornia as a new, experimental permanent venue for its unplottability. The host country had a muggle princess whose consort was a wizard; as was their only son. And the muggle peasants still had the isolated level of superstition, it seemed to have realised this and to look to their beloved princess's wizard husband as a means of protection from the large, aggressive countries on every side. The country had on its statute books laws forbidding the use of harmful magic on the royal highway that ranked alongside drunkenness and substance abuse. That magic was a part of life of some people was not taught in the many excellent schools endowed by the princess; it was merely tacitly accepted that it existed and that it was not quite polite to discuss too openly. The people of Belsornia were congenitally polite. Wizards were people to be wary of, but also to be grateful to. Had they not kept out both the Nazis and the Soviets after all? The people of Belsornia knew what went on in the world outside their own cushioned little realm – they had wireless and TV and some had the internet – and preferred in the main to have a quiet, peaceful, moderately prosperous state filled with what the outside world would have called superstition to having the uncertainties of western democracy.

It was not, after all, a state ruled by wizards.

It was a state in which a wizard had married their princess; and her son was Prince before he was a wizard. He had married a witch from the school he had attended in England; but she was a lovely girl and had presented their prince with a fine daughter in the spring. It would be nice if she had a son too, but the people of Belsornia had voted out sallic law to allow their Princess Josefina to inherit, so there was no problem there. The people of Belsornia were eminently practical and their chosen representatives advised the Princess and made up her council and though it was technically a dictatorship it was in fact far more a democracy than many that were thus named since there was no such thing as party politics and there was a crime of betraying the people for which their chosen representatives could be deposed, fined or hanged according to how corrupt they turned out to be. It could not have worked had Belsornia been any larger than it was; but in a population little more than a single large city in any Western European state it worked just fine. And any citizen had the right of petition to the Princess too; and Princess Josefina listened to any plaint brought to her and had it fully investigated.

And now the magical world wanted to play a magical game there.

Well that was fine, because there was a magical organisation that made the Nazis look like pussy cats who would have liked to have stolen a country with muggles well used to the existence of wizards and, in the eyes of these fools from Odessa, used to obeying them too; and with a stake in the magical side of their country, the other magical communities would also muck in to protect little Belsornia from the Odessa people.

It would not interfere with their daily life to have this Quidditch played in the uninhabited hinterlands; the wizards were welcome to risk the dragon-infested areas. So long as their traditional freedoms were not threatened the good people of Belsornia were quite happy to make such a deal. They knew the adage that any people who would give up a little freedom for a little security would deserve neither and lose both; and they would protest if any erosions of freedom were suggested!

The ordinary muggle communities of Belsornia were eager to stay in contact with what was going on in order to take informed decisions; and so it was quite possible to buy the English wizarding newspaper 'The Wizarding Times' alongside the English muggle newspaper 'The Times' on newsagents shelves because nobody had a freer press than England, muggle or wizarding.

It appeared that most people of magical blood in Belsornia had withdrawn long since to a secret community; but even so, there was now a right to be tested for magical ability and state scholarships to wizarding schools; and it was something that might arise in any family like any other talent like musical ability or being an artist.

And as such the people of Belsornia treated it.

It was the first Quidditch World Cup ever to be opened by a muggle.

The Princess Josefina made a brief speech proclaiming her interest in Quidditch and her joy at the glad co-operation between those of the magical community and those who were their friends among the muggle world and thanked the wizarding world for setting up Wizarding Wireless listening stations for such of her muggle subjects as were interested to participate in this great honour to their little country.

Belsornia had never signed an agreement to hide magic from muggles; it had been forgotten about by the larger countries. It was not therefore breaking any laws and tentatively the wizarding world watched how the acceptance of their existence by the small number of muggles here was working.

The Belsornian wizarding community, a small contingent since most of those of magical blood had long since withdrawn to the magical country of Zorn, hidden by fidelius charm, put on a display with the magnificent winged horses that lived in the mountains between Zorn and Belsornia. They were delicate silvery white beasts unlike any of the familiar four kinds of winged horse; closest to the Granian but smaller and lither.

There were gasps of admiration at the tight formation flying of the horses, unridden save the leader who bore Prince Franz, the wizard husband of Princess Josefina. The display ended with the Belsornian Steeds bowing their heads to the box of dignitaries and equally saluting each team before Prince Franz dismounted and they flew away in equally perfect formation.

Jade had discovered from Sandalla that these horses were semi-sentient and the gasps of delight and longing might subsequently herald attempts to buy them, but they would never be for sale! Her sister Lydia's sigh told her how the younger girl longed to ride one; that might be arranged some day but only as a visitor and if the horses themselves approved!

Next the teams came out with their mascots; the dancing singing Veeli supporting the Bulgarians and half confunding all males of appropriate age; and dancing in a wilder fashion the jaguar spirits of the Brazilian jungles, shape-shifting fey whose usual chosen forms were that of humanoid shape with jaguar heads and fur on their bodies. They had females dancing lithe erotic dances and males doing wild war dances and snarling.

The Amazonian tradition was, as in many places stiff with naming magic, or rather the magic of avoiding the use of names and using nicknames to avoid the notice of the Yolok spirits; Jade wondered if they also used specific naming to acquire compliance from the traditionally rather hostile fey. They would bear watching.

Then the teams came out.

The Bulgarians were a vigorous team who held nothing back; Jade knew they had been gentler against school children for the supposed Viktor Krumm memorial match before he emerged from hiding but they could play rough. It looked as though they might need to against the big, hulking Brazilians who looked rather like Jade's recollections of Crabbe and Goyle the Slytherin bullies Harry's age. Lydia stirred beside her.

"HEY,VIKTOR! Don't play them until you've heard them talk!" she yelled merrily.

There was laughter from around her.

"Look like a bunch of 'alf trolls, don't they, missus?" said a cheery little cockney wizard nearby "Cor, no wonder they got the reputation for the most penalties in fifty years!"

Volkov and Vulchanov, whilst perfectly charming chatting to schoolchildren off the pitch had enough of a reputation for not caring if it was the Bludger they hit or a chaser who was in the way; but the Brazilian beaters Antecume and Rodrigues looked as though they would prefer to maim a person to hitting the ball.

The Brazilian supporters raised a massive cheer as their Seeker came out; Sueli Silva was known as La Mariposa, the butterfly, and she was dwarfed by the rest of her team, a tiny delicate looking woman who was as tough as old boots and flew with the grace and skill of a butterfly, seeming to float aimlessly about until finally she would swoop and seize the snitch often from under the nose of the opposition.

Viktor would have his work cut out.

The game was on!

The crowd was knowledgeable, cheering clever feints and good moves, booing fouls; and fouls there were in plenty. Antecume and Rogrigues both made as though to swing at the bludger and hit, instead, Ivanova in the midriff; and the miss was far enough off to be obviously intended.

This was enough for Volkov and Vulchanov to start retaliating for their chaser.

It was the dirtiest match any of the Snapes had ever seen, even those who had been involved in the match against Durmstrang where the reserve had been jinxing their opponents. The jungle spirits snarled every time one of their team got a penalty; and the veeli tried desperately to distract the referee from his duty.

Next time that might even be David Fraser; he was taking his International Referee's exams after the World Cup, having to mark this match too for every foul in a viva voce exam as it went on for the examining body, he and every other entrant marking this as well as sitting a written exam rather than refereeing an actual minor league match. It was considered quite as valid; after all he had proved his flying skills as a National level referee.

Jade shuddered. At least David wasn't on the pitch; hard lines for the poor man who was!

"Crikey, I'm sorry for the Ref!" she said.

"Yes, vamped by Veeli, jinxed by jaguars and barged by beaters" said Lydia. Jade laughed.

"You're as fond of alliteration as Dad!" she said. "I've missed you, being at the other school."

"Me too; but we have the blood tie" said Lydia "Jade, d'you think Leo and I are going to be an item?"

"If you don't know that yet yourself, Lydie, no-one else can say for you" said Jade. "Hermie and Ron needed a kick start because neither of them would TALK to the other; reckon you and Leo manage that at least?" she felt like being a little short with Lydia and hastily swallowed it. After all, she had been uncertain what to do when everyone was assuming she would be an item with Fabian before she knew Wulf; and it was scarcely Lydia's fault that she was missing Wulf for being left safely in the school rather than expose himself where he could be snatched for interrogation.

"Yeah" said Lydia in answer to Jade's question about her and Leo's communication skills. "OUCH!" as Viktor took a bludger to the side of the head. The blood group had absently dissipated the pain and damage between themselves in automatic reaction when Lydia added "I say, did we just cheat?"

"Dunno" said Jade "Evened up the cheating on the other side a little maybe. Filthiest game I ever saw!"

The Bulgarian chasers were obviously more talented – now Ivanova had received medical attention – and the Brazilian Beaters started taking refuge in Bumphing, hitting the bludger towards the crowd to cause a halt in the game at crucial moments in a scoring run.

The crowd booed.

David Fraser, inside his examination booth, said to his examiner,

"Sir, why don't you have a skilled chanter to put up a protective circle around the pitch and bounce the bludger back so these stupid interruptions need not be made?"

"Probably because, Mr Fraser, there aren't that many that talented ritual magicians out there" said the examiner.

David snorted.

"With due respect sir, nonsense! I'd need backup to do it myself, three others of similar ability; but Severus Snape is out there, who was my guardian; and he could do it alone, let alone if he had backup from his kids and wives."

The official snapped his fingers for a house elf and sent a message to Severus.

The elf apparated directly to the Snape family and put the request.

Severus nodded.

"It'll take a few minutes" he said.

A time out was called; and Severus placed Lydia, Jade, Krait, Dione, Sirri, Erich and Tala at strategic points.

The chant was not complex; and needed only about a quarter hour chanting with several of them to intertwine the protective wall. It might not be a dome since a player might fly as high as they wished so long as they did not leave the area of the pitch; and the protection was against, effectively, missiles, which brooms might also count as if flying fast enough.

The Jaguar spirits tried to set up a counter chant; but Severus absently dropped a silencing spell on them without breaking chant, or even getting out his wand.

Several Veeli went and kicked them.

The referee called in the examinees to back him in breaking up the disgraceful little fight that ensued between the mascots; and David Fraser was voted an excellent man to have along since he seemed to be impervious to the Veeli's charms and snarled back at the snarling jaguars.

The charmed wall was in place; and naturally the Brazilian beaters had to try it out.

The trajectory of the direct shot into the crowd hit the wall – it has to be said that the crowd behind the invisible wall winced and ducked – and bounced directly back, taking Rodrigues by surprise and knocking him clean off his broom.

"Thought that might happen" said Severus in some satisfaction "they should study muggle physics and snooker."

"It'll lead to some interesting new tactics" said Jade. "I can think of all sorts of ways of using that and I'm not even a beater by trade."

"I can think of a few things to do with a quaffle" said Krait.

"But you, my dear, already applied snooker tactics to an elastic collision between snitch and quaffle for Harry back at the Durmstrang match" said Severus equably. "Beautifully weighted and avoiding the foul of snitchnipping since you never touched it. Hello, is that a Brazilian down?"

It was; Volkov and Vulchanov were getting a severe talking to for cobbing; an elbow on each side.

"Rather an interpretive rule that" said Jade "EXCESSIVE use of the elbows. When does use of the elbows become excessive and when is it only part of a high spirited jostling? I say ban ALL elbow use. Hello, they're off again!"

It was well into the afternoon before the shout went up that La Mariposa had seen the snitch!

She was across Viktor and on it before the Bulgarian could react; but then he was in pursuit, neck and neck, the chase for the snitch taking them dangerously close to the ground, then up again! The blood group fought NOT to synchronise heartbeats with Viktor, so exciting was it and so tempting so to do; and then he was reaching over Silva's shoulder, his long, uncoordinated looking arms reaching further than hers; and the whistle blew!

There appeared to be an altercation between Viktor and the diminutive Brazilian seeker; and the referee came over, expostulating and waving his arms a lot.

The officials all went into a huddle.

It lasted long enough that the crowd started booing and the more imprudent threw things – which promptly bounced of the magical barrier on the crowd side.

The announcer was consulted.

"The officials have informed me that the snitch had been examined for the blood-memory of who first seized it and that it was grabbed simultaneously by both seekers!" he said "This has never happened in all the history of Quidditch…. Therefore the referee had awarded one hundred and fifty points each to Brazil and Bulgaria, bringing the score to Bulgaria three hundred and ninety and Brazil, three hundred and seventy!"

The crowd went wild.

And it was over bar the interviews, Princess Josefina saying a few words to the effect that she was glad that such a level of penalties was not considered normal and that she was glad that the team that behaved itself least worst had also been the victors; and that if such shocking behaviour was displayed at the next international match Belsornia hosted she would have to seriously reconsider the donation of this ground as a venue.

It was to be hoped that being reprimanded by a muggle might shame the players into better behaviour in future!

One of the Prowling Marauders who was NOT in Belsornia was Lynx; she and Hawke having been a little precipitate in their declarations of love she was busy giving birth to a daughter; and the whole of the blood group standing by to take pain and if need be to teleport in; which Lynx profoundly hoped would not happen if only because she did not think much of the idea of Hermione Weasley scolding. She was sharing the whole business with Myrtle, who was due with twins at around the same time – as Myrtle said, what else were Christmas holidays FOR – and they had decided to let whoever started first set off the other and keep the Malfoy twins busy with their respective beloved.

It went without a hitch; and Myrtle and Abraxus doted on Arthur and Erica – the boy called for Myrtle's father, the girl for Myrtle's middle name, her father's second favourite shrub – and Lynx and Hawke marvelled over small Leona Pardis as they decided to call her. Girls, they decided, would have cat names; boys would be raptors.

It all made sense.

It did to a pair of animagi anyway.

The other prowling Marauders, Snapes and friends, which is to say David, Ron and Hermione, were staying in the palace in Velikrade, the capital of Belsornia; and Sandalla of Zorn was to meet them there and thence to travel back to school.

They could feel her excitement; when the Prowling Marauders had seen her back home after the year's end, Jade had spoken seriously to Sandalla's father, prince Irun, explaining what being a Marauder signified; and how Sandalla was with a group likely to be accepted as the next layer.

"And I should like to blood her in early if you are willing, sir, to give HER the extra level of protection that it originally gave Harry Potter" said Jade "For gaining access to your country by threatening your daughter would suit the creeps of Odessa just fine; and if you knew she could bounce the killing curse that has to improve your peace of mind."

"Blood magic has never held the terrors for my people that is has for more superstitious wizards outside this magical land" said Irun. "Your father, as I said, is the first wizard ever to write clearly and with understanding; and from his references to Dumbledore I suspect they may be the first two wizards of the outer world to have any concept of what blood magic really means. If, as seems likely, she then picks one of these boys she is friendly with as a husband in the future, our land is even more greatly blessed for such protection. I have no objection."

Which being so, Sandalla was blooded to Jade, Lynx, Fabian and Senagra; which gave her a joining to the group as a whole.

"And you can blood in fully when we bring in the boys" said Jade "Whenever that may be. But now, my poppet, I shall ALWAYS know where you are; and that's no end comforting."

As a result of which, Jade and the others had no worries about Sandalla joining them. It had been a shame her father had decided it was too risky to let her watch the quidditch match with them; but that was an assessment only he could make.

The flying from the hidden valley had that standard journey feel as a background to Sandalla's excitement; but the sudden terror and pain was not standard.

"Ruddy dragons!" growled Jade, apparating in concert with all the rest to the point at which they had felt Sandalla's distress, just by the dragon reservation.

They were in time to hit the falling figure of Prince Irun's chancellor and the four guards with levitating spells; of Sandalla there was no sign.

The guards were dead; and it was apparent from quick wand work that it was at the means of Avada Kedavra. The chancellor, an elderly wizard, was in cardiac arrest; and they must needs chant to save him.

He gasped as his heart stabilised and said,

"No! Never mind me, get the princess!"

"We need you to help us do just that you poor prune" said Jade with more truth than tact. "What happened?"

"There were men, in quidditch robes, knocking a quaffle about" said the chancellor. "We thought they were from the game… it seemed reasonable."

"Clever" said Severus "I detect the hand of Hersog Eduard Von Frettchen in this; Gerhardt doesn't deserve anyone that clever. The Duke is a man of some subtlety; and were he the leader we should have significant trouble."

"When they first cast the Killing Curse at the guards, naturally I threw myself in front of the princess" said the chancellor. "We know what a green flash signifies, even though I have never seen it before. And then….ah the PAIN!"

"The cruciatus curse; we felt it on Sandalla too, though I confess we though it to be dragon fire just from the fear and pain" said Severus. "They used that rather than risk hitting her with the Killing Curse I suspect; her pain was of no moment. We took and dissipated it of course; but your heart is no longer strong. We'll take you back to Velikrade for the time being; David, you'll check a geomantic trail?"

"I'll check" said David "But unless they're clumsy, if they apparated her it's unlikely I'll pick anything up. We'll have to triangulate on her mind and bloodsong."

"Well that won't be hard" said Jade "She's as angry as a bucket full of hornets being heated in a cauldron. I think I could get right to her right away."

"No" said Severus "Check from Velikrade too; get your distance and direction precise. We don't want to have you lost as well."

Jade bowed her head in acquiescence.

It was not as though Sandalla was in immediate danger after all. Alive as a hostage she was valuable. Dead she was useless. And if she died and they sent a demand any competent seer could undertake a divinational reading on whether she was alive or dead, in what state of health, and if competent enough what sort of frame of mind she was.

Unless they put her somewhere under a fidelius charm; which would block all divination and the use of blood tracing magic.

It would NOT block the bloodsong of the bloodtied any more than it could block those house elves tied by blood and kinship to the family.

Once back in the capital the blood kin attuned to Sandalla and felt for her.

"Crumbs, all the way into RUSSIA?" said Jade.

"Gerhardt knows we know where his hideout is; he might expect us to look there" said Hermione. "Odessa is big in Russia, remember how they snatched that fellow who none of us cold pronounce, the one David called Chumski, and wanted to kill his muggle mistress?"

Hermione and Ron, who had been preparing to get married at the time had not been along on that trip; but Hermione had of course heard all about it and had applied her usual encyclopaedic absorption of knowledge to everything she could about Russia and the Pripet Marshes in case of a repeat trip being needed.

"It ain't in the Pripet Marshes" said David "I'd say it's nearer to Volgograd."

"A suggestion tae ye a'?" suggested Seagh.

"Go look see the fey way?" Jade asked. Her brother nodded.

Severus paused.

"Go on then" he agreed "And if you can snatch her quietly do so; we'll mount a punitive raid later."

Jade and Seagh grinned; and stepped into the other reality that was Feyspace and ran smoothly onto the nearest ley line that would speed them in the right direction.

These Eastern European lands were ancient; prehistoric trackways made ley lines across the mountain passes, and fewer were disrupted by having been turned into big modern highways with muggle electric power following them and interfering with geomantic travel. It took them half an hour to get there.

The place was a castle.

It was difficult to find by geomancy; it was unplottable. Unplottable did NOT however extend into feyspace.

"I'm going to jolly well add a feyspace element to the unplottability of Prince Peak" said Jade ruminatively.

"Aye, that's a braw idea" agreed Seagh. "Tower or dungeon, think ye?"

Jade shrugged.

"Or even a nice comfortable internal room looking onto the courtyard only with a stout, locked door. It'd make a fine school when we've stolen it."

Seagh laughed.

"Och, ye've a one-track mind, sisther mine and time tae think on yon thoct when we've consolidated Prince Peak."

"True" said Jade.

Sandalla was in a turret room; comfortable enough but definitely a prison.

She was all alone.

Jade and Seagh strolled out of feyspace and she squeaked briefly then ran to hug Jade.

"Nice little country retreat old girl, but a bit churlish of you not to invite us before now" said Jade in her best Malfoy caddish voice.

Sandalla laughed – which had been the idea – then caught a sob.

"Oh Jade, they killed everyone!" she cried.

"No, not quite all; we saved the old chancellor" said Jade "The guards, yes, I'm afraid died under the killing curse. You'll be able to see thestrals now, I'm afraid, poppet; but they died buying time for your bloodpulse to reach us" she added not strictly truthfully; but it would help the little princess not to feel that the guards died for nothing. "And we therefore had time to save old Rooty or whatever the fellow's name is."

"His name is Rutigend, Jade! How can you forget it?"

"Easily" said Jade "I don't use it every day. I don't, like uncle Lucius, claim to remember only the names of those I like or those I loathe, but I don't bother with names that under most normal circumstances I can look up on the rare chance I'm going to need them. Have you got your bag of undies and things?"

"Yes, they brought my clothes with me" said Sandalla "It was on my broom's saddlebags and they apparated me broom and all."

"Right, then there's nothing to hang about for" said Jade "Let's get you out of here."

"Are we taking her tae dad or direct tae the school?" asked Seagh as they drew Sandalla into feyspace, carrying her big pack of clothes by levitation with them.

"Dad; Wulf's at school but better to hide her among our brat siblings" said Jade. "He can decide what to do. Now keep hush, Sandalla because we're going to scout about for how many there are here so we can do it over by way of revenge – and hiding how we nicked you – and they can hear us from Feyspace."

Sandalla duly hushed as the three made their way around the castle noting troops and avoiding hounds – dogs found scenting into feyspace hard but some could do it; those with fairy-hound blood, Jade had hypothesised.

It was a significant base.

It might even be a central base covering the entire region.

The head wizard was a Great Russian – unsurprisingly – and he was a brutal faced man who made Jade shudder faintly at the thought of delicately brought up, sheltered Sandalla in his grips. He had a great hearty laugh that rang out as he contemplated the fear Prince Irun must be shortly feeling for his daughter's safety. His underlings dutifully sniggered. Jade absently lifted a knowledge of Russian from a more menial looking junior officer and passed it to Seagh.

"Have our tools in the Vory found a muggle child who looks similar enough yet?" the Natchalstvo demanded.

"Yes; she is being brought to the castle now" said one of his underlings.

"Good." Said the florid castellan.

"It was very clever of you, Lord Ivan, to think of casting the cruciatus curse on a muggle child to record on a message globe" said one of his sycophants "To prevent risking killing the Zorn brat."

"Yes, I was quite pleased with it" said Ivan "Of course if he proves stubborn we shall have to put her on two way communication and cast it on her while she pleads with her daddy; but children die so ridiculously easily and that spoils our advantage."

Jade was only glad that Sandalla knew no Russian.

They would have to rescue the other child.

Who these Vory were she did not know; perhaps one of the others of the group might.

Meantime they should really get Sandalla to safety.

They moved out of earshot.

"You take Sandalla to safety and report" said Jade "You are the best at Fey travel; it makes sense. I will stay and snatch this other child."

Seagh thought about protesting; then nodded.

Getting Sandalla to safety was the priority and he could go faster, being half fey so long as he carried Sandalla.

He left Jade and went quickly back.

Dad would understand that she had to stay to rescue another child; and that the primary mission must be fulfilled too. If Jade was determined to stay only their parents or Wulf were likely to have any CHANCE of dissuading her!

Jade watched the dirt track in.

A muggle vehicle was winding its way up.

Jade put a glamour illusion of a tree blocking the way; and the car rounded the corner and halted with a crunch of gears that made even Jade wince.

"What do we do now, boss?" asked the driver.

"You carry the brat up to the castle" said the passenger.

There was a small girl in the back seat; she was terrified.

The driver opened the back door.

"Out" he said.

Trembling she got out.

Jade grinned.

She reached out of feyspace and pulled the muggle child in, quickly covering her mouth with a hand.

"What the?" the driver said.

He began to swear.

"That's rather naughty language" said Jade quietly in the child's ear. "What is your name?"

"Svetlana. What is happening? Why am I here?"

"That's a long story….these are bad men. So are the men they are taking you to. Do you have any family?"

The child shook her head.

"No, they are all dead… all but Dyadya Kolya, and then these bad men killed him to take me." She burst into tears.

"Tell me where you lived with Uncle Kolya, we shall check that he is really dead; and if he is we must put together some clothes for you and find you somewhere to live" said Jade.

It would not do any harm for Sandalla to have a double anyway; if the girl Svetlana agreed to it willingly. And if not, Prince Irun would give her a home for having been placed in harm's way over the safety of his own child.

"What sort of place and what will become of me?" demanded Svetlana.

She was doing rather well for a muggle child wrest from her only relative and frightened half to death. She had a direct gaze and eyes that were not wholly human.

"You are part faery, aren't you?" said Jade.

Svetlana looked surprised.

"You can see it? Baboushka said it did not show unless people could see glamour! It was her mother who was a rusalka you see; it broke her father's heart because his wife could not stay with him…but he had Baboushka."

"I see. Well, I can see glamour; those foolish men could not. It may be that any witch or wizard can see it; I am a witch but I can also see glamour for my adopted brother is part fey. You may be coming to school with a girl who looks enough like you to be a twin; we shall see about that. The wicked wizards in the castle wanted to pretend you were her to frighten her father. We rescued her and now we have rescued you too. Her father will be ready to try to make up to you that you have been hurt, frightened and orphaned."

They arrived at the child's apartment – as grim as any in Umbrous Place North – because Jade had used legilimensy and apported there.

The door was broken in; and the poor old man was certainly bereft of life. Svetlana sobbed.

Jade put an arm around her.

"Pack some clothes, little one, and then we shall leave" she said "He is beyond the veil; and he will smile on you."

The child crossed herself, as Vasilica Fraser was wont to do, backwards – to Jade's mind – in the Eastern Orthodox fashion.

She packed; and they returned by apportation to Velikrade.