Heart Of Magic
Well it has been a long, long time but I always wanted to get around to continuing this story, I am very sorry for the wait and I hope you will all continue to read and enjoy this.
"Harry you can't do this!" Juliana was hissing as she and Harry stood together on a stone balcony, looking out over Rome with a warm sun beaming down on them. Light flooded the couple who were stood hand in hand and half embracing.
"Juliana, I have to. It's my duty as a Cardinal Mage." Harry sighed deeply, he was due to leave in a few hours. After intense negotiations with the Romans they had agreed to send a plane, unmarked and unarmed, to the eternal city. Harry was to act as envoy but he knew there was more, something he was not being told.
"To hell with your duty! This mission is sending you into the heart of the enemy, please don't do this." She begged but she knew it was pointless deep down. Duty was something that came first for them both, her one as a constitutional monarch and his as Cardinal Mage. Harry put an arm around her, pulling her close for a second.
"Do you remember when we first met?" he asked dreamily and the olive skinned woman shivered with the memory. A smile spread across her face and her eyes mirrored his.
"You were the nervous envoy to the empire, first mission as a Cardinal mage. Exclusively trained by the Arch Mage himself , the fast track to the title. I thought you would be stuck up, a know it all and yet the moment I saw you, I knew you had something else." Juliana whispered in low longing tones. Harry sighed deeply.
"I was almost too scared to talk to you," he chuckled. The woman beamed at him.
"So was I. You don't have to do this Harry, the coalition is already forming. With any luck the Roman Empire will fall in a matter of weeks." Though even as she spoke Harry doubted it she believed those words even for a second. He didn't and neither did the Arch Mage.
"I have too, we need to know how she survived and if there's any way of preventing a war. One that will bring the future of our world into question." Harry explained slowly hating the words and his duty.
"Fine go, but promise me one thing." Juliana whispered softly, the time was near. Harry kissed her deeply, longingly and he hoped it would not be a final one.
"Come back to me.
"As long as you promise to come back to me, duty binds us both my dear." He confirmed and with that he reluctantly withdrew his arms and turned to re-enter the building, he had spent time with the heart already and now was the time to go.
"Goodbye Empress Juliana." Harry spoke the words softly and brushed away a tear, knowing the woman behind him was doing the exact same thing.
One mile outside of Rome
"You must understand Harry you are protected, even a Roman Empress must honour the old rights. You may be not be harmed under her care." The Arch Mage was saying as the two of them walked side by side, to the unseen eye they were alone but the Arch Mage's bodyguards were following them, always unseen.
"Remember she needs you to fulfil the agreement, if she does not keep a representative of the order close to hand then she is in violation of the Treaty of Rome. Breaking the agreement on either side, could have horrendous consequences." The Arch Mage for a second sounded almost scared. That treaty had been signed with magic drawn from the heart itself, if either side broke the agreement then the effects were unknown. They were just thankful that the Roman Empire hadn't tried to use any of their powers under the agreement, though now they knew about them they could not disregard their duty.
"I will. Though I'm not sure why I shouldn't press for peace." Harry answered, the general consensus was that peace was no longer an option and the old man beside him took a long deep breath.
"As long as the Empire clings to the treaty we cannot allow them to exist, we must either destroy or have the Treaty of Rome destroyed, it compromises everything we have worked for over the years. You know under the Treaty when I do the Romans must approve my successor. They can also dictate policy, thankfully we are at war meaning the usual clauses are exempted. Though we must honour the ones in peace time." The old man explained and Harry didn't say anything. He just walked.
"Remember to stay in contact and be very wary, the emperors and empresses of the Roman Empire should not be underestimated. They alone have access to a dark magic the likes of which the order cast out centuries ago, be cautious. "
"Why did you choose me for this?" Harry asked knowing it would be the last question he would ask the man for quite some time.
"Because the Empress wants someone she can groom as the next Arch-Mage, you Harry were trained by the me from the moment you arrived. You will not be tempted by the thought of power, something many Cardinal Mages would have a problem with resisting. Just remember, love is a magic that stands alone against darkness. Use it.
"For love and hate are twisted together," Harry smiled
"A union for now and forever." The Arch Mage finished the mantra as the outline of a plane came into view and Harry prepared to journey into the unknown.
It was late when he arrived, the journey had lasted for a long time and his questions to the pilot and servants went unanswered. Instead he was served drinks and food by the servants and silence by the pilots, it had been a comfortable journey. Though Harry had not enjoyed it, one look into the eyes of those servants had revealed a twisted self hatred within. They were trapped in both body and soul, with only the mind somewhat free. They must have been captured straight from the invasion and judging by the way they were dressed, tight fitting, short clothes they were expected to serve his every need. It was sickening.
We did not land in Ireland, instead we travelled onwards, the direction was unclear as it changed so many times and I was not sure where we were. In fact I understood very little. Though wherever we landed was inside and well hidden.
"Good evening Cardinal Mage Potter, we have been expecting you." A man dressed in oversized flowing robes greeted with a smile as he got up to exit. She was by the stairs leading out and a bitter chill struck him. He stood tall, imposingly so with a puffed out chest. A scar occupied his right cheek and he had no hair, just a gruff looking face.
"I am High Consul of the Roman Emperor, it is a pleasure." the man's voice told him the opposite was true. Harry waited for the man to say his name, it never came.
"Come, the Empress wishes to bid you welcome to the Eternal Place." Harry was led straight from the hanger, which had been sealed up by the time he had gotten off the plane, into a neatly furnished corridor. One with strong power lights above and curtains, though he could tell they did not guard windows. He was certainly inside, the entire palace did with carpets, statues and portraits being used to make out the space was entirely normal. It didn't work.
That bitter cold didn't go away either as heating charms varied from room to room and eventually Harry looked down at the carpet, it was a foggy sort of thing but with his shoes it felt hard. Then he saw a servant rush past and almost trip, the mark left behind revealed what was under it. Ice.
"The eternal palace has served as true home to the Imperial Family since the betrayal, it has never been detected and houses a huge number of staff." The man spoke and Harry decided to push for information.
"Is there a barracks with the same capabilities?" He asked and the man in front of him had to hide a snicker.
"Oh yes somewhere, it's been around for quite some time." His answer was cryptic and gave nothing away as he pushed open the door to a room which was far less subtle when it came to its true colours. A throne room with clear ice floors, pillars and light radiating from all of them. Shimmering above was a huge chandelier, it concealed the artificial light.
"All rise," a number of servants, dressed in grey featureless clothes were around the room but whoever spoke was kept hidden. Harry found himself stood before the ice throne as through hidden door a woman entered. Though he knew her, the tall striking empress draped in regal red robes. An eagle flying upwards was embroiled on the chest and a black crown rested atop her head. Her hair was a river of black lava and her skin looked too pale. Harry wondered just how much sunlight it had seen and he stared into dull dark eyes with only a hint of hazel in the pupil.
"Cardinal Mage Potter." Blood red lips broke into a smile and Harry made a half bow, it was the only thing he was going to give this woman.
"Your Imperial Highness." he reluctantly stated.
"I welcome you the Eternal Palace, second home to the Empire. Unfortunately our original home is occupied."
"It is pleasure to be here, I'm sure your first home is being well looked after." Harry half smirked under his breath but the woman simply made a high pitched noise, it resembled a laugh.
"I am glad, with your presence here the coming confrontation should take a more smooth direct fashion."
"I intend to ensure that." Harry answered solemnly, he did not want a war and his words reflected that. Though interrupting her must be a form of taboo as he was shot a number of dirty looks.
"I'm glad, now I am aware..." as she spoke an older woman quietly approached the empress and whispered something in her ear, a Harry notice that tiny pool of light in her eyes flicker. She whispered something back to the woman.
"Well as you have had a long journey I will not impose on you any longer, you have been assigned a servant,"
"There is no need." Harry protested.
"There is every need, the servant will show to your room and I am assured she will see to your every need. If you require anything else, please do not hesitate to ask." The Roman Empress half ordered in a quick tone before quickly getting to her feet. As if she had somewhere to be and Harry pondered about what for a few seconds. Just a few.
"Cardinal Mage Potter." The gruff faced High Consul moved over to him
"I didn't catch your name," Harry stated quickly wanting to call the man something at least.
"High Consul." The man replied and Harry wondered if the man actually had another name or maybe a title meant forfeiting it.
"I have taken the liberty of choosing your servant personally, I am sure you will be able to utilise her to the best of your ability." His words alone just sickened Harry but his eyes widened with a vast array of emotion as the main door was opened. There walking with that same twisted look in her eye was his servant, saying nothing and just looking at him.
Despite everything Harry could only look at her with pity, he just couldn't believe it. In a second she was the person he felt the most sorry for and history was quickly forgotten. Now he understood what the Arch Mage had meant, they were trying to tempt him. Not with power though; this was infinitely more twisted and far less resistible.
"Ginny Weasley." Was all he could say as an inferno of emotions began to storm within him.