Prologue:
The Emperor

No one had ever seen him like this before. No one had ever seen him smile. No one had ever seen him laugh. No one had ever seen him happy.

The Emperor of Imperial Parsel was infatuated. Every time he looked at her he felt his spirits rise. Every time she smiled, he laughed with joy.

Her name was Annabella. She was the Emperor's daughter.

No one had ever seen the Emperor like he was in his daughter's presence. The people of Parsel adored Princess Annabella for making their Emperor happy. No one else could do it. They were treated kindly in the years after the Princess was born.

However, the Emperor was still a shrewd man. In secret, he brooded on his daughter's future. She was too beautiful, too perfect to be spoilt be a man's harsh grasp. Even when she was still a toddler, her golden curls angelically framing a pretty heart-shaped face, the Emperor knew ambitious nobles were teaching their sons how to seduce her.

And so, in secret, the Emperor brooded and planned, and then began to forge his weapon against eager young men. It was a dagger, handed down the royal line for centuries. The hilt was obsidian, and the iron blade was encrusted with silver. Secretly, the Emperor concocted potions and invented charms that would protect his daughter.

Years before the dagger was completed, the Emperor knew how it would work. He would pierce the flesh of anyone who dared court Annabella. If she loved the courtier, he would live, and they would wed. If not, the foolish suitor would die.

The Emperor was not a fool. He knew certain suitors would gladly take the dagger and use it to murder the Emperor, or worse...Annabella. So he added something else to it. Something that would trick them all. If he or Annabella were pierced, they would be safe, because they were bonded through parenthood. The bonds between a parent and child would save anyone pierced by his dagger.

True, any of the suitors who weren't orphans would survive his test, but that just meant the Emperor would just have to kill off the parents of the suitors.

The Princess Annabella was thirteen years of age when the Emperor finished his dagger, adding in silver paint the rune of Parseltongue meaning Death. He killed many with it. However, little did the Emperor know, the weapon would prove useless against the most dangerous man who would come, not to court his daughter, but to carry out more sinister deeds.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

A young boy, about three years old, sat straight up in bed. His auburn hair clung to his head with sweat, and his dark eyes quickly adjusted to the dark light as he looked around the hotel room. His mother was still asleep, even though the television was still on.

It was not the first time he had had a vision of the Emperor and his pretty daughter. It would not be the last.

The boy felt cold despite the heat of summer. Quietly he climbed out of bed and towards his sleeping mother. He studied her face.

His mother was pretty too, like the princess in his dreams. The only difference was the hair. The princess's hair was gold, but his mother's hair was red, bright fiery red, just like that of his grandfather and great aunts and uncles he had seen only through his visions.

The boy curled up next to his mother and fell asleep. His name was Charlie. His mother's name was Grace.

Meanwhile, a nameless fear tore angrily across the globe, searching always for the presence of Grace Weasley. Because where Grace Weasley was, her son Charlie would be. And where Charlie was, the only hope of the resurrection of evil lay.