Yes you are reading this right, it is 12c and no I haven't posted 12a or 12b yet. I thought this one might be better with which to kick off this academic year. It kinda calls out to be read first but it upsets my sense of symmetry to label the others anything but 'a' [Prince Peak] and 'b' [Hogwarts]. I'd lose track of them, which might not be such a problem with three but you wait until 2008-9 when there are 5 parallel books. Which are currently being written...

Chapter 1

"I've changed my mind, tell him to go back!" said Jade trying to pull a comic face at her husband through her labour.

Wulf held her hands.

"It's just a trifle late for that" he said dryly, casting the midwifery spells Jade's father had taught him.

With Jade having to go to spy in Durmstrang, Krait had suggested that as their baby was well grown and healthy, starting him off a little early would do him no harm and would give Jade more time to both bond and to recover from birthing before she had to leave her baby. So when Willow went into labour on Harry's birthday Jade tuned in to set off her baby. And the Bloodgroup was there to help share out the pains as well as the midwifery spells; save for Dione and Ellie who were due later in the year and must be shielded to prevent premature labour. Wulf's daughter Irmi insisted on being a part of it; and Jade's little sister Lilith who would be starting Hogwarts this year two years early.

Ralph Erich came into the world protesting over the hurry but quite capable of fastening onto a nipple with tenacity. They had picked the name Ralph as a 'wolfie' sort of name as it meant 'wolf' and Erich for Jade's adoptive brother whose good idea had led to the cure for werewolves so that Wulf was now free of the affliction and Ralph was not born with it.

Wulf gazed proudly down at his wife and son.

"He is beautiful!" he said.

"He's red and wrinkled and looks like a canned plum" said Jade cheerfully kissing her canned plum adoringly. "Irmi, you shall be first to hold your brother" and she passed him over.

Irmi regarded him with awe and joy.

Love was a wonderful thing; she had been wary at first of sharing her dad with anyone else, but Jade was so wonderful and now she had a little brother too.

"You'll have care of him for me" said Jade "As a special person; Mimette will nurse him well enough but he'll need his big sister."

"I will, Jade" said Irmi, solemnly.

Durmstrang did not go back until almost the middle of September; so Jade would have six weeks with her husband and son. She had already, in her persona as Nefrita Malfoy, made a claim on the Von Strang estate, claiming that all Freiherr Von Strang's legitimate children had been killed by Voldemort; since she was using the blood-bond with that same brother Erich, born Von Strang, to claim parentage by his loathsome and inadequate parent.

Both Erwin and Helga Von Strang were in the care of Jade's parents; Krait having faked their death, and Erich having 'disappeared' from Durmstrang. Erich had collected the family house elves to protect them; and that was all of the estate HE was interested in so long as someone was in control who would take care of the people there.

Since Nefrita Malfoy seemed to hold supremacist views her claims were being fast-tracked by the German Ministry of Magic and Jade intended starting Durmstrang as Nefrita Von Strang. Germans were most dreadfully impressed by anyone with a 'Von' in their name. And Jade had every intention of forming her own gang in the year she was to be there, not joining anyone else's; especially not the prominent gang run by Heinrich Nachtigall, cousin of her friend Katarina and all-round nasty piece of work. Jade knew his type; she had known Slytherin of the worst deatheater types when she was at Hogwarts and had firm views on putting such firmly in their place.

She had been putting bullies in their place since long before she even started in the first year.

Willow reported that she and Sirius had twin daughters this time bringing their total to five; and that they were naming them Diana and Selene to go with a moon theme rather than the usual stars; and naughty Krait remarked to Severus that it was as well that there were two and she couldn't think of a nickname for Diana because Selene rather opened herself up to be known as 'Sally go round the moon'.

Nefrita Malfoy Von Strang looked no more like Jade Snape than any of Malfoy blood looks like another. Jade's hair was brownish blonde and parted in the middle; and for the Triwizard she had let it partly cover her face in the sort of curtains her father had also once hidden behind; and her eyes were nominally grey with a tendency to change shade according to mood. Wulf thought her the most beautiful woman in the world; but the Jade Snape of the Triwizard had been careful to be unremarkable in terms of looks.

Nefrita was a more flamboyant type with all the Malfoy panache; Malfoy violet eyes and silver-gilt hair worn drawn back from the forehead that showed no zig-zag scar. The only thing that was the same was the shape of the features – pure Malfoy – and the equally pure Malfoy magnolia skin. Jade had her vanities; and also part of her mission was to impress and subvert if she might and such skin would stand her out against the German beauties and make their flaxen blue-eyed good looks seem by comparison relatively coarse.

She must purchase the uniform and sixth form books; and as such she must visit Kesselstrasse in Berlin.

Berlin was a modern city.

Even the medieval buildings were replicas; like the thirteenth century Nikolaikirche that had been destroyed in 1945. There were a few older buildings; but the Rathaus was a nineteenth century replacement – also extensively rebuilt after the war – of the thirteenth century original; the Brandenburg Gate but eighteenth century. The older part of the town was along the River Spree where the cities of Berlin and Cölln grew up on each side of the river.

And in Nikolaiviertel, close to where that little old church was so utterly destroyed, was a surviving relic of medieval architecture; a bare few yards of the city wall.

Wizarding space protected from some damage at least its exits and entrances; and Jade must turn aside from the pedestrianised cobbled street, cross the short grassy sward, and walk boldly through the archway faintly defined only to those who could see magic.

It was a different world.

The Kesselstrasse was like walking into the world of the Brothers Grimm; medieval buildings cramped together and rose high above the street, and one might expect narrow passages between them to take one to secret and fantastic surroundings where wicked queens danced themselves to death in red hot shoes, or dogs with eyes like saucers lurked. One might equally expect to see Til Eulenspiegel walking across from one building to another on his mother's washing line to the mixed wonder and anger of the neighbours; it was that sort of place. And it was far more brooding than Diagon Alley; somehow it said 'this is the German wizarding world, your attention, this is dangerous'. Certainly the first years of German extraction who were purchasing their kit here were more subdued than their English counterparts.

Most countries had a city wherein such equipment might be bought; indeed most countries had schools of sorts. Durmstrang was the biggest and most prestigious, offering a wider range of lessons than most local schools could, and having as it did a policy of taking only the cream of wizarding society – socially and according to blood status anyhow – had a reputation for being something to which to aspire on the continent. Personally Jade reckoned that most young European witches and wizards might be happier going to school with others of their own ethnic background in smaller schools even if they might not achieve such academic excellence; but Durmstrang stood of course for more than academic achievement. It stood for the principle of keeping blood pure and as such took in very few who were not of near pure bloodline, and then only those of wealthy or socially elevated background. It also of course accepted people from far flung countries of small wizarding population whose own communities had not the facilities for anything like it; like Serbia or Tajikistan as well as those countries that were traditionally in the German sphere of influence like Romania and Austria; and the Spanish presence doubtless accounted for by the traditional interference in Spanish affairs by Germany dating back to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles, the nephew of Isabella of Castile.

Jade hoped that with more people sending children to Prince Peak not Durmstrang that those children would return, some at least of them, to teach in their own countries and make up a broader base of education. Besides, it would make a Triwizard more fun with more schools ready to compete on a more equal footing. A Scandinavian school would be good; and Antti Laakkonen stuffy enough to be ready to start one at that when he grew up, she thought whimsically.

And maybe Hanna-Leena Tommila, who would have to make her way in the world, would consider teaching if a school were subsidised at that, she thought; and resolved to keep an eye out for Scandinavians who weren't too bad at Durmstrang.

They would not shop in Berlin of course; but here too would be a good place to start to see who was who of the Germans she would meet.

She saw first a boy of about fourteen who was hastening a younger brother in the buying of a cauldron, the younger lad explaining that he wanted the RIGHT cauldron within their budget. They did not look well off.

"If you want to go and put a bet on the Heidelberg Harriers just go and do it, Hasso; Mother said you were to take care of me and I think you take care of me better by not helping."

The older boy went off with very little persuasion.

"In my experience" said Jade "Providing you do not buy substandard, there is little to pick between one cauldron and another until you reach the third or fourth year when, should you prove good, spending as much as you can afford on a pewter cauldron becomes worthwhile."

"Your views tally with mine gracious lady but I don't intend to be hurried" said the boy. "Are you in a superior class at Durmstrang?"

"I shall be joining the upper sixth" said Jade "My name is Nefrita Malfoy Von Strang; whether that is Baronin or not is still sub judice."

The boy bowed deeply.

"I am Herwald Langbessen" he said "I would be honoured to fag for you My Lady."

"I will consider it" said Jade, a little taken aback.

"My Lady, my family fell in status but we have had people at Durmstrang for centuries" persisted the boy.

"I have said I will consider it, Langbessen; and I will" said Jade "You are the first new child I have met; I do not know what rules there are concerning choosing, discarding and changing fags – if any."

"I know that!" said Langbessen "You have as many as will serve you and pick a chief fag from amongst them or cast them off if they displease! If you want another's fag, if you can persuade them that's all right but you may have to fight a duel for them. My brother told me; he fagged for one of the fellows who was a contender for the Triwizard; and being Hasso he picked a loser" the child added in scorn.

"I see. Then provisionally you may consider yourself my fag and if you satisfy me I shall retain your services" said Jade. "What then are the rules of ages at which one takes and discards fags?"

"Oh if you've status enough you can have a fag from the second" said Langbessen "And I guess a Baronin would have them from her own class from the beginning, and keep them all the way through, though most don't have fags until the fifth or lower sixth. To fag for someone of status is an honour even if you're still a fag in the fifth, though I think you don't do such menial stuff when you're bigger. It's better to volunteer to be a fag to someone because otherwise you don't know WHO you might be picked by."

"Well, the information is welcome; now run along and buy your cauldron, kid" said Jade who recognised well enough the signs of a boy who was starting to encroach. She would keep all her fags at a distance until she knew them; and if her social status was so impressive she might expect to attract several.

She wondered how many Nachtigall had in addition to the small boy who had brought him on a string to demand help for the fart-powered dirigible curse she had dropped on him.

And she had no intention of asking this small fount of information if HE knew; at Durmstrang one did not permit youngsters to have such power unless one was certain of their loyalty; information on customs was one thing, information on specifics was another.

Most of Jade's purchases were to be in the book line; she would need the required NEWT course books – or rather, ZH course, Zauberkunst Hochprüfung, the art of magic higher examination. Trust the Germans to have a boring acronym, thought Jade; though partly that also came of having a language that was so unkind to its nouns as to jam them all into one like sardines in a can. Jade was sufficiently fluent in German to pass as a native which not all of the graduates of Durmstrang managed entirely; and being good at languages enjoyed musing from time to time on whether the language shaped national personalities or whether the national characteristics shaped the construction of the language. She had argued the point with Hercule Maxime, also fascinated with languages, and they had never reached a firm conclusion.

Those buying the same books as her would be in the lower sixth; but there was only one other girl about her age in there.

This girl was also purchasing 'Higher Arts of Darkness'

"You will join us in the sixth?" she asked "I suppose you come from some no-hope school where ZH's are not offered; I hope you will know your place."

"I shall be joining the UPPER sixth and I shall not be entertaining any contumely from people like you" said Jade, using every ounce of the Malfoy sneer.

"My! You DO think you're somebody; I can't wait to see Nachtigall bounce you" sneered the other girl. Jade laughed.

"Well whoever he may be, he may try. I fancy he may be in for a big surprise."

"You may be top of a small school in the middle of nowhere but Durmstrang is a different proposition I assure you"

"Which is how come YOUR Triwizard champion had not a clue about prime numbers; and my previous school donated one of the winners" Jade yawned "I can't fault the place academically; only on the riff-raff they let in. And I don't THINK I'm someone, low-born; I KNOW it. Now get out of my way; I want the rest of my books."

She left the girl gaping.

It would be almost funny if it weren't so tragic that this was how the hochgeborn were supposed to behave.

The other girl was also decidedly impressed when the shopkeeper, wrapping Jade's purchases, said,

"Excuse, gracious lady, but you have here books for six ZH subjects."

"Yes that is so; they would not let me take a full complement of subjects" said Jade "I had to drop one."

"Are you saying you study up to seven ZH levels at the Englisher school?" the other girl butted in. Jade regarded her as though she was something rather unpleasant she had picked up on her shoes.

"Are you by any chance daring to question me?" she said dangerously.

"No not at all! But it seems an unfeasible number unless English exams are of less quality!"

"If English exams were lower, one might expect the Durmstrang champion to do better… if I had only transferred a year before perhaps I should have been able to persuade Madam Bacsó to find a way around my birthday being outside the cut-off point by days only" said Jade. "I might well have won the Triwizard; Jade Snape is not so much better than I even though she did take eight NEWTs. The ZH equivalents in English schools" she explained. "I managed to persuade Madam Bacsó to let me take most at least of my subjects."

It had been a heated exchange of owl messages, and an impassioned diatribe by floo; the supposed Nefrita demanding to know how come so old and well established a school as Durmstrang could fail to produce the academic results of a headmaster only in situ for a few years and him eccentric to the point of insanity too. Madam Bacsó wanted to have something to boast about; and if this girl COULD manage six ZH's she would be the one to have credit for it. And if she failed miserably, well it was easy to say she was only a transfer who overreached herself.

Jade was tiny compared to the German youngsters with her slight Malfoy build; and when she came face to face with a youth about the same age as her fag's brother he regarded her with approval.

"Ah, a new girl?" he said "Well my name is Adelard Löenzahn and I am the person to know in the fourth. You come to me with your problems and I will sort you out."

Jade regarded him.

"You are a little boy of the fourth? But you are very forward; unless this is your way of asking if you might be my fag."

Löenzahn spluttered.

"How dare you! You do not speak to me like that, I am pure blooded and of prominent family!"

"And you, little boy, do not speak to one of the sixth like that; and certainly not a Baronin of older and more respected family than yours which I'VE never heard of. I am Nefrita Von Strang; and had I been the child you thought me I appreciate that your intentions were kindly else I had been more irritated."

"Baronin! I apologise…. I had no idea!" he stuttered. "I – if you wish me to fag, I should be honoured!"

He looked as though he was torn between eagerness for the connection and horror at having to resume a life of menial tasks.

Jade laughed.

"I think I'll make do with babes… the apology was not for being able to pick up on my manner when I answered your original comment. Learn from it; it ill becomes one who would be a leader to make assumptions."

"Thank you Baronin; I will learn and remember" he said.

He reminded Jade strongly of Ernie MacMillan; he probably would learn and remember at that. A stuffy child and a bit self satisfied but possibly worth cultivating.

"I will however, if not use you as my fag, perhaps call on your services as eyes for me in the middle school" said Jade.

He puffed out his chest.

"I should be honoured!" he declared.

Ass, thought Jade. But potentially useful ass, and maybe with time even a trainable ass.

Jade recognised the older sister of another of the small people as one of the satellites of Heinrich Nachtigall; and the features of both girls bore, to one who knew the look, distinct traces of the fey.

It might be of course that they had Malfoy blood and did not know of the fey connection; or it could be that, like the Malfoy family, they did not count it an impurity. Highfey after all were generally beautiful creatures and far removed from elves and their ilk. The older girl did not trouble to speak to Jade; so Jade did not trouble to speak to her either. She was not the sort with whom one might wish to be intimate if she enjoyed the company of such as Heinrich Nachtigall. If she had joined him as a bully to avoid being bullied that would become more apparent with time and then would be the time to move in, but if she made acquaintance now she could scarcely set up a rival organisation to his gang of thugs. Which was what Jade fully meant to do. Anett had told her to look out for Cacilia Von Freyer, who also went her own way who was a pleasant girl who had youngsters queuing up to fag for her for her kindness, and had done since she was in the fourth, which had been permitted since she was a 'von', which had been confirmed by the boy Langbessen. And it also tallied with the relationship Von Frettchen seemed to have had with the rat-like Dunkelwald that they had chanted into Elf-form after he tried to kill Wulf.

Jade wondered idly if he had been able yet to convince Von Frettchen who he really was or if the Duke had just ignored an elf however much he entreated. As his one time fag the little spy would know things about the spymaster that must surely convince him; and what then? Did Von Frettchen have the level of loyalty that would move heaven and earth for a dependant? Or would he laugh and say it served him right for getting caught? On such things depended whether he might be turned one day or not. Anett was getting close to him; though not too close since she was teaching this year at Prince Peak – and had engineered to have Von Frettchen suggest it too – but she could gauge a deal about him from his reactions to other things. There was that about him that was not entirely unlike Lucius; Lucius would, in similar situation, do all he could to procure a cure on his own, and if he had to admit failure try to secure a bargain with the enemy that was more advantageous to himself than the foe in order to have his vassal restored. Even before Lucius realised how his personality had been warped, a slight to one of his vassals would be a slight to him, and he would have sought to correct it – and THEN plotted revenge.

Meanwhile, none of the new ones seemed especially prepossessing; not of the German children anyway. Those who did not have cruelty and arrogance written across their features seemed to have the looks of well-brainwashed automata, and if they were that well brainwashed at eleven, she had little hope of shaking them from it by subtle control over the year that she would have. Indeed the best looked to be the sister of the Nachtigall gang member.

And if that child were her fag, she might even prattle artlessly about her sister and friends.

Jade made sure to meet them in the robe shop where oppressed-looking elves took busy measurements. She gazed on the child with a degree of hauteur.

"A first year?" she asked.

"Yes, if you please, I am to enter Durmstrang this year" said the little girl.

"I enter into the sixth; I am told it is customary to have fags. You have a look about you that makes me think you may have Malfoy blood; this I would consider quite suitable if you were to be my fag" said Jade.

"Oh but I am to be my sister's fag!" said the child.

Jade shrugged.

"So? Well no matter; there are no doubt plenty of children who would like the advantage" she said.

"And just who ARE you that it may be an advantage?" said the older girl managing to be short of sneering just enough to be offensive but not so much as to be pulled up on if she was addressing someone who was worth cultivating. Jade silently applauded. Nachtigall did NOT deserve someone of that ability; even if she did prove loathsome.

"I am Nefrita Malfoy Von Strang; whether Baronin or not is still being decided though I am told the courts are in favour" she said.

"I am Traudl Mondschein; my sister Elfleda. She would be honoured to be your fag" said the other sixth former.

"But how can you decide that for me?" demanded the child "I know where I am with you, Traudl, this girl I do not know!"

"Silence! Have you no sense to see the honour afforded to you when so noble a person offers it?" hissed Traudl "I apologise for my sister; she is deficient in knowledge and sense."

"The child has a certain point, Traudl" said Jade "Were I a school mate of yours of long standing you would be able to advise her of my temperament. She is hasty in her speech, but I had rather that than a sly child. I have another fag already; if the child is thoroughly opposed I would not want an unwilling fag. I asked for the similarity in blood we both share."

"It is true then that the Malfoy mingled blood with the fey?" asked Traudl, not pretending to misunderstand.

"Long ago" Jade shrugged. "And reiterated with my darling grandfather's newest woman; though I hardly think the original co-mingling was with any but Highfey. The child of this union is, fortunately, not blue like his mother. The old man takes his ideas too far; I accept that his brain was addled through having both Voldemort and Dumbledore treading through it but he can be an embarrassment."

"Is it true that he actually has his goblin mistress refer to herself as Madam Malfoy and treats her brats as he treats human children?"

"Utterly" said Jade "I am independent of him; his family settled a sum on my grandmother to raise my mother and I have also my father's estates; and hopefully the title also."

"Von Strang is an old, well respected name and pure blooded to the last degree" said Traudl with respect.

"Are we shedding your loyalty to Heinrich Nachtigall now his father is under law suit for having had people lie about the proper Herr Nachtigall becoming a werewolf?" demanded Elfleda.

Traudl laughed a rather forced laugh.

"She comes out with the most outrageous things!" she said sounding apologetic.

"Yes but ARE we?" demanded the little girl. "Traudl said being part of his group would do our family good, but it would scarcely do so if his father is in gaol for fraud so I was only wondering."

"Have you ever noticed" said Jade, conversationally to Traudl "How children 'only wondering' can manage to be devastating to the equilibrium of their elders? Faggling of mine, wonder on your own time and a little less loudly; for sometimes tactlessness leads to consequences beyond thy comprehension. Of the situation of Herr Nachtigall, I have some knowledge; since his eldest daughter transferred to Prince Peak school whence I have lately come and left not this summer but the last; and she had vowed to stand by her father in a law suit against his brother since he had escaped from durance vile wherein he had been confined, falsely accused of being a werewolf. A pleasant girl, if a little ready to embrace the crazy ideas of the new head."

"Is it true there are goblins in that school?" demanded Elfleda.

"Yes; and free elves" said Jade. "The academic standards rose; of which I was most glad, but I felt I must complete my time at school amongst humans away from such lunacy."

"Our own academic standard is good this year" said Traudl "Seventeen pupils are in the upper sixth taking ZH's and many of us are taking four."

"Yes; Madam Bacsó was persuaded eventually to let me take six so I only had to drop one" said Jade "I thought however I might study Ancient Runes on my own time and enter it anyway in June next even if I am not permitted the classes."

"SEVEN? Donner und Blitzen, if he is a madman this head, he is an efficient one!" said Traudl. "I – I study ancient runes; if it would please you to look over my notes, I should be delighted if you feel able to maintain such a level of study!"

"Why I thank you; that is unlooked for good fortune!" said Jade "The emphasis cannot but be different to that of an English exam, where much is put on the Celtic Ogham and little on Cyrillic say."

"We study Ogham of course; but the ancient Aryan languages are also given much emphasis" said Traudl.

"Tell me pray your text book; I shall purchase my own to study so I may make notes in it" said Jade "It is, I think, a flaw in the Malfoy character that we like to argue with text books and write comments in them."

"How did your birth then come about, if it is not indelicate to ask?" demanded Traudl.

Jade refrained manfully from saying 'in the usual manner between the legs of my mother' and explained her fictional history; how Lucius had, at some thirteen years old, had an affair with a courtesan who was herself a pure-bred runaway of the Black family and how the result of that union had conceived by Freiherr Von Strang and she was the result. That Von Strang had in some way managed to offend Voldemort and was killed together with all his family was well known.

This Traudl Mondschein had her eye out for the main chance; and that meant that Jade might steal her from Nachtigall if his star was no longer in the ascendant. It was cold blooded; but for someone to act in order to better their family had more merit than to act to put down others for the sake of it. Traudl might be amenable to guidance. If it might be done without blowing cover. That the younger sister seemed fairly natural and tactless was hopeful; she seemed a normal enough child to Jade!

"What other subjects do you study to ZH?" Jade asked.

"Dark Arts of course – Heinrich felt we should all do so" said Traudl "Though I confess I find some of it a little hard to understand. I study too both Potioneering and Herbology, the second to aid the first."

Jade nodded.

"I too on the same score study herbology; Potioneering is one subject that was always taught well before Prince Peak became Prince Peak. I too will study Dark Arts; I have been studying the defensive strategies and hope I have learned enough from what we were learning to counter to keep up in class. I also study Transfiguration, Arithmancy and Magical Beasts; and that too has bearing on Potioneering. I chose that over Ancient Runes in principle that one might learn from a book about ancient runes, but nothing can substitute for practical classes in handling beasts for oneself."

"Clovis Gierek will appreciate knowing another potioneer; he is fascinated by poisons."

"So is Professor Snape; he threatens random poisoning to improve performance in antidote brewing" said Jade. Traudl giggled.

"Herr Professor Rebet has never gone so far; do not tell him, I pray you, he claims to loathe all students since one of them caused the accident that damaged his lungs. Is that what happened to Snape's face?"

"Yes; a girl knocked over powdered Chinese dragon heart's blood in the night when stealing alihotsy. He put out the blaze with his bare hands" said Jade soberly "He has his moments you know; but also his moments of lunacy."

"Well that is heroic" said Traudl. "I say, I suppose you must be awfully clever, if you're taking Arithmancy and Transfigurations."

"I enjoy Arithmancy" said Jade "And Transfigurations. Either you can do transfigurations or you can't. And I am an animagus."

"Truly? What form?"

Jade laughed.

"Wolf. There are so many wolf animagi running around at Prince Peak it's easy to copy; not to mention wolves in the woods. I like the form; the scents are fantastic in wolf form and actually I have used it to sniff out herbs to later dig up for potion making. And it does unnerve people and I have to say I quite like that too."

"I wish you might unnerve Madam Schrempf! It is she we have for Dark Arts; I used to enjoy it when Professor Hesse taught it, for he made it fascinating, but she has come in his place – it seems he went to England to duel with Professor Dumbledore no less – and she is not so good a teacher. She is impatient and she has no….no SUBTLETY. Subtlety is surely the key to the Dark Arts, not just using the unforgivable curses and rather pedestrian cursed sendings?"

"What I saw on the communications globe of her makes me think she is a fool; is the book set the one SHE has set or is it standard for sixth form work?"

"Oh it is the standard for sixth form work" said Traudl.

"Then you and I and any we deem worthy should work from the book secretly to understand the subtleties in our own time, and thus achieve a better grade than such a fool can give us" said Jade "Professor Snape is fond of saying that the Dark Arts are many, varied, ever-changing and eternal and like a many-headed and mutable monster that, when one head is severed sprouts back another fiercer and more clever than the last. That does not tally with a stupid, ignorant woman who has as much variability and mutability – or so it seems to me – of a troll on a sled waving an icepick."

Traudl gasped, but giggled again.

"If she should hear you she'd dish out the Cruciatus Curse" she said half fearfully.

Jade snorted.

"She could try. One thing we get dinned into us is how to counter it; wordlessly too. I'll teach you" she added as Traudl looked on her in wonder and admiration "And I'll be teaching my fags; AND reminding them that little jugs have outsize ears and that they heard NONE of this conversation" she admonished Elfleda "And moreover I should give any elves in earshot direct orders not to mention this conversation to any other human. Maybe I should go after this Schrempf woman's job; I wager I've picked up more about the Dark Arts than she knows just poking around in the library at Prince Peak; it's quite eclectic. I bet I'm more many headed and mutable than she is."

"I'll reserve judgement on that until I see you in action" said Traudl.

"I wasn't a contender at the Triwizard because of my birth date; and though it might not be entirely accurate to wonder if that was arranged so I could not show up Snape's daughter it crossed my mind…. In duels we're very well matched."

Traudl gasped.

"But she is outstanding…. Nefrita – I may call you Nefrita?" she asked and continued as Jade inclined her head in acquiescence "Heinrich will not like me moving from his orbit…. He has been useful to me but if he is to decline in power his grossness of manner does not fill me with loyalty. He hates all about Prince Peak and the Snape girl; for knowing her he will hate you and try to show you up."

"Nobody is as alive to Jade Snape's faults as I am" said Jade dryly "But he does not sound the type that I would wish to have befriend me in any case. I think Katarina was probably fairly objective about him. And you fear him. I will show you tricks that will enable you to stand firm against him if you wish; I think I would not wish to be an intimate of someone who had NOT cut a connection with him. I confess to having some sympathy too with the plight of werewolves – had his uncle truly been one – for nobody ASKS to become a werewolf; and it seems to me that he is of the type that not only has no sympathy for such but would, if he knew of it, condemn your fey blood. Which is absurd; for there is ample evidence to suggest that fey blood brought magic to humans in the first place."

"He does not know of it; in truth I would not speak of it for fear he might consider it a flaw" said Traudl. "I didn't know fey blood was the origin of magic in us; that is fascinating!"

"So all witches and wizards are part fey?" demanded Elfleda.

"In so far as we are all in descent of the first few, yes; but as well say we are all Indian as all civilisation and the teachings of witchcraft stem from India!" said Jade "The Aryan people spread widely and co-mingled with various natives no doubt bringing their ideas with them, but it does not make them our ancestors by more than a nod! Were that so, all magical folk would be able to use our peculiar fey skills that even so not all in the Malfoy family can access. Lucius with all his vaunted power cannot fly or dance upon the air or use feytravel; I hope to learn all feyskills and perhaps we may pool information."

"Alas!" said Traudl "Though we have the blood, such skills were not deemed suitable for the family to maintain."

"A sad oversight" said Jade relieved that the feyblooded of Germany were too pigheadedly blood snobbish to take on board the powerful magics of the fey. She would demonstrate dancing in the air as her contribution; and since Traudl seemed to find transfiguration hard she may never learn.

If Traudl became more than an ally she might then teach her more. For now it had gone better than she might have hoped; and she would make more contacts at the meeting place of students.