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Spoils of War

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Lady Hermione Grange tossed and turned in her sleep, sweat beading her forehead as images bombarded her. She saw a great battle, thousands of ships sailing from across the channel from France, at the head of the army stood a mountain of a man, his close cropped hair and clean shaven face alien to her. But she knew exactly who it was she saw. William the Bastard of Normandy, he was coming to claim the throne of her country. He’d claimed that the much lamented King Edward the Confessor had made him heir and by right all of England was his.

She saw the ships land and thousands of Norman, Breton, Flemish, and French soldiers stormed the shores of Pevensey Bay. She watched helplessly as the army then moved to Hastings. The battle commenced and her King Harold Godwinson fell in battle, an arrow protruding from his eye.

Suddenly from the chaos of battle she saw two men separate themselves. They were odd that they didn’t look like the Normans. Both had long hair, but were clean shaven. One was dark and the other light. Both wore strange armor, they both had the traditional mail hauberk, but where there would normally be mail sleeves they were made of a strange scaly leather that allowed for free movement.

And then they raised… They had wands! Both of these men were wizards and fighting with the usurping Norman Duke! She then saw flashes of light on the battlefield, green, red, white and purple all taking down her brethren, her people.

The wizards of England had offered their services to King Harold, but were refused. They’d been told that Harold was the true King and didn’t need supernatural powers to win the day. The King’s adviser’s had said that their quest was a righteous one and the only power the King needed was that of God. And so the wizards were turned away knowing that Harold would most likely lose the throne and his life.  

Hermione continued to watch the two wizards that caught her eye. They were... beautiful… The polar opposites in looks, but fought in concert. They were graceful and deadly. A green light would strike down their opponent and then one or the other would take their broadsword and stab the body through the heart. Whatever spell they were using left no mark and she can only surmise that they were trying to stay below notice.

And suddenly, they froze and looked up. Hermione felt as if she had been pierced, both wizards were looking straight at her! But that couldn’t be possible, this was a dream. She’d watched the entire battle as if floating in the air and none before had taken any notice of her. But these two Norman wizards were looking where she floated.

Suddenly, everything went dark and Lady Hermione Grange awoke with a gasp. She knew her life was about to change irrevocably. The only question now, was would she submit or fight?   

Chapter Text

Christmas Day, London 1066

 

The crowning of the new Muggle King of England would normally have been of little consequence to Wizarding kind. However, this Muggle King would be different. He had Wizards within his ranks and didn’t bother to deny it. Attitudes towards those that had magic and those that didn’t swung like a pendulum

The peasants still practiced what was referred to as the old ways , with nature spirits and deities. They prayed to Gods such a Danu, Nimue, and deified mortals such as Merlin and Morgana. They were also devoted to the Christian church and hid their pagan ways behind locked doors. The same could be said for the Muggle Nobility, but they were more apt to hide and conform. Wizarding peoples didn’t care, they practiced their arts out in the open, though a wizarding peasant found it much easier working for a Wizarding noble, than a Muggle one.

William the Bastard, now Conqueror didn’t care what the peasants did, nor did he worry too much about his knights and would use any advantage, so long as he reached his goals at the end. He was the ultimate Alpha and most of his knights were Beta, they followed orders when given. Not all of his knights were Beta, however, two of his most trusted wizarding knights were Alpha, like him. Some would think that would cause them to butt heads, but it didn’t. William had already found his mate. Matilda had already borne him several cubs and it had satisfied his Alpha tendencies, for the most part. What would never be satisfied would be the need to rule and he was well on the way of achieving that goal. To secure his rule needed loyal knights, knights that would fight for him and pay annual duties. The best way to secure those Knights would be to award them and he planned to do just that.

And so it was that his two most trusted Knightley wizards found themselves in an antechamber off the nave in Westminster Abbey and about to be awarded lands of their choice, provided they swore their undying fealty to their King and would still render service when required.

“My loyal Wizarding Knights,  Armond Lucius de Malfoy, and Auguste Severus de Prinz, you have shown valor upon the field of battle. Assisted me, in claiming what was rightfully mine. As a token of my gratitude, I’m prepared to award you with lands and appropriate titles. As I have not yet been able to do the accounting of all my kingdom has to offer I’ll allow you to go forth and claim whatever parcel of land you deem fit.

“You’re then to do an accounting of everything on your land and report back to me. I’m requiring this of all my vassals. To cement the legality of your claims you must marry a woman of equal or higher rank and preferably Omega, which is rare, I know. But, I have heard tell that this verdant country has several Omega ladies of Noble birth. Do you agree with these terms?” William asked in his booming voice, more used to shouting orders across a battlefield than softly speaking in a church.

Lucius stepped forward, bowing and said, “Yes, Your Highness. We already have some idea on where we will find our land and our lady.”

“You say, lady, as in one? You would share a wife? This is highly unusual. Is she an Omega? Why share when you could have your pick of any ladies in my court and you would share one? Why?” William asked incredulously.

“Pardon me, my liege,” Severus stepped forward and bowed, “We have already seen the lady in question-” William interrupted.

“Seen? How could have seen her already? And where did you see her?”

“She was seen on the battlefield, both Lucius and I felt her gaze upon us in the midst of battle. We looked up and she was there. Insubstantial, but there nonetheless. We believe this is the lady that was foretold by our seer that would bring great power and prosperity not only to us but most of all… To you.” Severus finished and looked at William, as the bear of a man contemplated what he had been told.

“I don’t understand the ways of you wizards, for all your foretelling of future events. But your advice has been fortuitous in securing my foothold in England. So, I will grant you leave to claim your lady. Once wedded and bedded, you must bring her back here to my court. Do you know about where your Lady is and what lands you wish to claim?” William asked as he paced in front of the two wizards.

“Yes, it is to the south, in the area that the Saxons call Wessex, There is a great standing circle of stone nearby that she is a guardian of. Our seer has said that she will awaken the land and it shall prosper, Your Highness,” Lucius said inclining his head, his pale blonde hair sweeping around his shoulders.

“Very good, I hope to hear soon that she is well and truly yours. You must claim your lands and begin to fortify them immediately. If that is all, you are dismissed,” William said and left the antechamber.

Once they were alone, Lucius turned to Severus and said, “Well, my friend? Shall we journey to claim our witch?” Severus nodded and whirling on his heel, strode out of the antechamber his cloak billowing behind him. Lucius following behind, both anticipating seeing her in the flesh.

******

Lady Hermione Grange was worried and sitting in her solar she was thinking over the dream she’d had in October. If her dream was true, she could be expecting guests any day now, she knew deep in her soul they were Alpha and felt a frisson of fear and anticipation at the prospect of meeting them. She knew it would be pointless to fight them, as they no doubt had several retainers and soldiers with them. She just hoped that they would allow her to remain chatelaine of her lands.

Being of Fae and human decent and one of the few practicing druidic priestesses, her family had been tasked with protecting the great stone circle at Stonehenge. It was rumoured that there was a great power slumbering beneath the stones and it must be protected at all costs.

She didn’t know if she could trust these men with the knowledge that she guarded or not. Only time would tell.

Looking at Lady Hermione, most wouldn’t think that she had Fae blood for she was mortal and looked human. That is until she would cast a spell. She didn’t need a wand to use most spells and her eyes, usually, a warm brown would flare and change to a golden hue like honey’d mead and glow with an inner light. Those who’d seen her cast a complicated spell would say that her eyes would ensnare them and they wouldn’t know how much time had passed until her eyes dimmed and they came back to themselves. She was also the first “witch” to be born in her family. For even though she had Fey ancestry, their magic was much different than what she had.

And because the people would become spellbound when seeing her cast, Hermione made it a habit not to cast out in public or if she had to make sure her hood covered her head. Hermione knew that her life would be changing soon, even if the Norman invasion hadn’t occurred. She had just seen her eighteenth summer and her Omega traits have begun to present themselves. She also knew that she would receive her calling from the Goddess Danu. She had anticipated finding out what her hand of power would be. Her mother being a natural herbalist and could coax the weakest plant to thrive in the harshest of conditions.

She’d often wondered if she would follow her mother but thought it was unlikely. While she could tend to established plants, she didn’t have the same affinity as her mother had. No, Hermione loved animals and she had several ‘pets’ that lived in and around her keep. Her favorite was a young Jarvey, who loved to get into mischief and if caught would curse up a blue streak.

She’s named him Reginald, for no particular reason except that it popped into her head and he seemed to accept it. She’d been tempted to name him Ronald, after a boy she knew growing up, but decided against it as it wasn’t fair to the Jarvey.

Ronald had been a squire in training to her father but had been called back to his home to assist in a clutch of dragons that had been spotted not too far away. When Ronald had come to train with her father, he’d been accompanied by an orphaned Potter’s son who’d wished to learn how to become a master of the horse.

She and Harry had grown up together and were as close as siblings. Ronald had shown interest in possibly becoming Hermione’s husband at one point, but she’d refused. She’d had a higher calling. It was the main reason that Ronald had returned to his family lands, the dragons being just an excuse. To be honest she didn’t miss him all that much.

There was a knock on the door and Hermione turned to see who it was. A golden head appeared around the corner, it was her lady’s maid Luna. Luna also shared Hermione’s Fae heritage, but her features were much more apparent. Luna had Ice blonde hair that fell to her knees. Pale skin, and a pixyish face with slightly pointed elvish ears. Her large luminous blue eyes seemed to hold the knowledge of the ages. She was effervescent and Hermione loved her for it.

“My Lady, Knights have been spotted about a mile north-east of here. I feel that they are the ones foretold. Such a rare thing for an Omega having two mates. Maybe it is due to your Fae blood?” Luna asked as she approached Hermione and sat with her at her loom.

“Perhaps Luna,” Hermione murmured as she wove the shuttle through the yarns stretched on her loom. She was working on a tapestry, one that would hang pride of place in the dining hall. It depicted the story of Merlin being encased in crystal and sealed away.    

“Please have everyone present themselves in the inner bailey, by rank. Make sure the dogs are locked away and have Harry come attend me. I have some instructions for him.” Hermione said, her smooth movements with the loom belying her nervousness.

“As you wish, Lady Hermione,” Luna said, raising and walking to the door.

“Luna, I’ve told you several times to just call me Hermione, or Mia. No need to place my title before my name. We’re friends, aren’t we?” she asked, looking up.

“Yes, My lady. We’re friends, but I feel that it prudent to address you formally, until such time that we know these invaders better. ‘Tis a good thing to be cautious when dealing with something unknown,” with that Luna left to do as she had been bid.

“Yes, Luna. You’re right. But then it is rare that you are ever wrong,” Hermione whispered to the empty room.  

Chapter Text

Severus and Lucius were at the head of their troops, men that had followed them from Normandy with the promise of land and riches. They had spent the last three weeks traveling from London, moving south-west toward Wessex and the Salisbury Plains. The going tough after they had to divert from the ancient Roman roads, slogging through muddy half frozen trails. Though most of the men with Severus and Lucius were wizards and could apparate, none of them knew the area so it was a great risk.   

The soldiers consisted mostly of cavalry and infantry. There was no need for archers in a wizarding army, such weapons were reserved for the Muggle forces. Severus and Lucius had trained and fought many a battle with these men. They were loyal to a fault and knew that the best opportunity lay in England. Most of their soldiers were unmated Betas and would find their partner among the peasants and lower nobility.

Severus drew in a deep breath, anticipation churning in his gut at finally meeting his prophesied mate. He thought back to the day that their seer had come to both he and Lucius with a vision. Lucius had been a widower for several years, his first wife perishing in childbirth, but Lucius had his heir and hadn’t felt the need to find another mate.

Severus on the other hand was a confirmed bachelor, he would seek the pleasures of both Beta and some Omega females, but had never felt the draw to mate. That would all change.

Both Severus and Lucius had been sharing some wine, they’d been camped out on the beaches of Normandy for months waiting for the weather to clear in order to sail and help the rightful King claim his throne. A gale of wind blew open the tent flap and there stood their seer. She was an old crone of a woman, but her powers of sight were unsurpassed.

Both Severus and Lucius stood in wary attention. She hobbled into the tent, leaning heavily on her walking stick. She was looking intently upon them both, one eye squinted and the other bulbous and constantly roaming about. They felt she could quite possibly see right through them, with that constantly roaming eye. It was uncomfortable to watch, but watch they did. This woman deserves their respect.

Slowly, she made her way to the only other chair in the tent and plopped down heavily. She snatched Severus’ goblet and quaffed the remaining wine from within it, she then refilled it from the flagon on the table. Once finished she slammed the goblet back down and stared at them both, her wandering eye making Severus feel a little nauseous.

“I’ve had a vision…” the crone began in a creaky voice, like a rusty iron gate swinging in the wind, “You two will find your true match in the land across the channel. She will bring great fortune and power to both of your lines. With her you shall form a triad, you at the base and she the apex, your powers feeding off of each other. But be cautious for while the power she will grant can be beneficial, it can also be devastating if abused. You must balance her and yourselves or suffer extinction. There will be one that will try to claim her powers for himself, watch out for him.

“Your mate has been blessed by the Gods, care for her, love her, and she will bend the universe to her will for you.” with that the old seer heaved herself out of the chair and hobbled out of the tent. Silence had engulfed both Severus and Lucius for quite some time, until as if some unknown signal had sounded they both collapsed back into their seats. Severus reached for his goblet and then looked at it in disgust, while the seer was quite respected, her cleanliness left much to be desired.   

“Well, Lucius it seems that we have made the right decision to pull up stakes and head to lands unknown. D’you s’ppose she is a Beta or an Omega?” Severus asked after rinsing out his goblet and pouring more wine.

“Undoubtedly Omega, my friend. ‘Tis rare that Beta’s would have such strong powers and rarer still for an Alpha male and Alpha female to mate. The seer said she will balance us, so logic dictates that she would be Omega. I have to wonder what her scent will comprise of?” Lucius answered and propped his booted foot on the table.

“Whatever it is will be delicious, I’m sure,” Severus purred, trying to picture this Omega in his head and he just couldn’t do it. Taking a sip of wine he said, “We must go meet with the Duke, he feels that the weather will be turning soon and we can set sail across the channel.”

“Yes, but first, let us finish this flagon of wine. It is too good to let go to waste,” Lucius said and drank deeply.

Severus was wrenched from his recollections when he heard Lucius call a halt to their men. He looked around and still couldn’t see a keep anywhere nearby. He turned and addressed Lucius, “Why have you called a halt?”

“The scouts say that the keep is about a half mile west of us still, but we must be prepared, we don’t know if they will treat us with glad tidings or hostility, my friend. Where is your head, man? Are you so befuddled with anticipation that you have forgotten that this is hostile territory and we are in fact, invaders?” Lucius taunted Severus lightly. He just scowled at Lucius in return.

“No, Lucius. I’m not so overcome as to not be prepared. I was just recalling when we first heard of the one that would be ours, and find m’self tingling with just a bit of excitement,” Severus sniped back.

“Well, now is not the time. I say we rest here for the night, that way we will be refreshed in the event of a battle. However,” Lucius turned in his saddle and addressed the rest of the men, “there’re to be no fires this night, we’re too close and would prefer not to tip our wand. It will be cold, but most of us are wizards, we have warming charms for a reason. Those of us who aren’t will have the charm cast upon them by their comrades. Is that understood?” There was a rumble of assent and everyone on horseback dismounted and began to set up a temporary camp.

Lucius then turned to his squire, a young wizard who’d shown promise on the battlefield. “Pitch our tents and then inspect the armor. We must present our best on the morrow. Once your duties are finished, find your bed and rest well. We may have a battle on our hands.”

“Yes, milord,” the youth said and dismounted from his pony and head for the pack wagons.

“D’you s’pose we’ll need to fight? I’m all for bloodying my sword, but if we are to rule these lands wouldn’t be best to temper aggression with tolerance, my friend?” Severus asked as he too dismounted and began to unsaddle his war horse.

“You have bloodied your sword on many a fair maid, Severus. What makes you want to take caution now?” Lucius said deliberately missing his meaning.    

“I wasn’t referring to that sword and you know it, Lucius. I just feel that in this instance we might get further with diplomacy than brute strength and steele.” Severus sneered at the blonde.

“It was a jest, man! Maybe you need to pay a visit to the camp followers and release some of your passion. You just might send our potential mate into conniptions. ‘Tis likely she will be a timid thing, if the vision of her was accurate, she was quite tiny.”

“I wouldn’t sully myself with those harlots if they were the last Omegas around. No, I shall maintain myself and go to our bride as cleanly as possible. I would suggest you do the same. The binding must take place on May Day and we require several days to cleanse ourselves. The last thing you would want would be for your manroot to fall to rot and fall off.” Severus sniped back, but his eyes sparked with the tiniest bit of mirth.

“Hold your tongue. I trow I can outlast you on our binding night. She will call my name to the heavens by time I’m finished.” Lucius boasted and finished unsaddling his our war horse. “What is the real reason you don’t want to battle?”  

“We are on sacred ground and I feel that the Gods would not like blood spilled unjustly upon these plains. Can you not feel the power of the very earth beneath your feet? And I have also seen quite a few plants that would be an excellent addition to my potions store, I would rather they not be trampled.” Severus said and hauled his saddle to his erected tent. Casting a Lumos and then a warming charm Severus doffed his chainmail shirt and heavily padded undershirt. His muscles rippling if every movement. Lucius joined him and did the same. The morrow would find them welcomed or fighting, he was up for either one.

Chapter Text

Hermione woke with the dawn, she’d gone to bed angry. She’d had all of her retainers wait in the inner bailey for hours and no knights had showed up. She could only assume that they’d camped where they’d been spotted for the night. Probably because they were unsure of their welcome.

Today, though she felt in her bones that her life was about to change, but for good or ill she didn’t know yet. She turned her head and saw Reginald curled up on her pillow. The little Jarvey had burrowed into her heart and his creative cursing was always good for a laugh.

Gently, she ran a finger down his spine and he stretched in his sleep, she could hear him mutter, “Cumberworld, leave me alone.”

“Oh, come now Reg, you know I’m nothing of the sort. It’s time to face the day and I have a feeling you will be an integral part. Now up you get,” Hermione said and prodded him a bit more.

“You harecopped ninny, stop being such a dorbel and let me sleep,” Reginald groused, but uncurled from his balled up form and stretched.

Hermione laughed at him and stuck her tongue out, she didn’t take offense to what the jarvey was saying as that is just what a jarvey is supposed to do. She knew if anything were to threaten her, Reg would run up their leg and bite the first vulnerable part of their body.

Hermione had rescued Reg when he was just a small pup, just weaned from his mam. There had been a sudden spring downpour and the river had swollen. Reg had been trapped on a floating log, the current too fast for him to swim in. Hermione had seen him and using a levitation spell, she’d gently brought him to shore. His mam and the other pups had rejected him as a human had saved him, so Hermione took him home with her and he was now her constant companion.

Running a gentle finger down his spine, Hermione snickered silently when Reg stretched out and purred. If you mentioned it to him, he was likely to take a bite out of your finger before agreeing that he liked the attention.

“Come on lazy bones, this day has a feel of protense to it. I have a feeling that our lives are about to get quite interesting,” Hermione said and got up from the fur covered bed. The servants had already been in and lit the fire braziers. Even though the wooden walls were solid and quite insulated, the room still held a chill this late in winter.

“You may have a things to do, but I’m a jarvey. I don’t have anything to do, but be a pest and get on everyone’s last nerve. ‘Tis too early and I wish to sleep some more you gobermouch,” Reg said as he proceeded to roll over and go back to sleep.

“If you get up now, Reg you can spend the morning with Harry. You know he always enjoys your input,” Hermione wheeled. It was an all-out lie, of course, Harry put up with Reginald only because Hermione loved him. Reg perked up instantly and bounded out of the bed and clambered up to Hermione’s shoulder.

“You’re saying that Harry, that raggabrash actually asked me to follow him about today? I don’t believe you, but anytime I can pull that saddle-goose’s nose out of joint the better. Lead on.”

“You go on, I have to have my bath and then I will be in the still room all morning. Imbolc will be soon upon us and we must gather the yule greens and burn them.” Hermione said and scratched Reg under the chin.

“Well let me out of these chambers, wench. I have much mischief to make!” Reg said and scampered over to the chamber door waiting impatiently for Hermione to open it. She did and he was gone in a flash.

Hermione smiled and shook her head. She then turned and headed into her bathing chamber. A large copper tub was always filled with clear spring water. With little effort, Hermione warmed the water to near boiling and stripping down to her shift and emerised herself in the scalding water. She sighed, her very bones seemly melting in the heat.

A crease formed on her forehead. What she hadn’t told Reginald was that she knew all their lives would be different from this day forward. She had communed with the Goddess and had been told that her mates would be here. She had been shocked to learn that she would have two mates. Usually, an Omega would only have one. The Goddess had been reticent on telling why she was to have two, but she suspected it had to do with her latent powers.

People of her mother’s line, the Unseelie, or dark fairy court always had a hand of power that would manifest at the time of their maturity. But Hermione’s hadn’t. Maybe it was because she was the first designated Omega in her mother’s line in a millennia. It still irked her that she had to wait for her mate and his power to be able to unlock hers. And now, not only would she have to deal with one Alpha mate but two? She was sure this had never happened in all the histories of her people.

Hermione sighed and submerged her head under water. She opened her eyes and looked up and the ceiling through the rippling surface of the water. She really hoped that her mates would still allow her to do her duties and protect the great stone circle of Stonehenge. It was a sacred place and there were forces out there always wanting to take and corrupt the pure earth magic of the stones.

She had been tasked by the Goddess to make sure that the circle remains pure. It was a pact her father’s, father’s father had made when they had traveled from the north and settled here. She had learned her druidic practices at her father’s knee and her mother had taught her all she knew of herbs and potions and medicines.

Hermione felt her lungs begin to burn for the lack of oxygen and she rose suddenly to the surface of the water. Gasping she let a tear roll down her cheek. Thoughts of her parents always made her heart twinge with sadness. She had lost both during a Viking raid five summers before. It was only by the grace of the Goddess that she and her holdings had survived.

It was still a mystery, but Hermione suspected that it was the wards woven into the ground and the pact with the Goddess that had cloaked the keep from the marauding Vikings. Her parents hadn’t been inside the protective shields and had been slaughtered when they’d refused to give up the location of the keep and the sacred circle.

Suddenly there was a pounding on her chamber door. Hurriedly, Hermione got out of the tub and donned an embroidered robe to cover her sodden and transparent shift. She opened her door and saw Harry standing there with Reg holding onto his hair.

“Milady, soldiers approach from the east. There are at least fifty horse and one hundred and fifty foot soldiers. There are also two standards flying. It seems like it’s a combined army. What should we do? I can have the gates down and the bridge up in a thrice if you ask me,” Harry said and placed his hand over his heart.

Hermione smiled and said, “That won’t be necessary. These men have been waited for. But I would like to test their mettle so to speak. Please fetch me my armor from the smithie and tell Luna to come attend me. I will go among you to get a look at these men the Goddess has foretold of. How long before they reach the gates?”

“They were just spotted coming over the horizon. So an hour maybe two at most. Will you have Luna greet them as Lady of the keep?” Harry asked.

“Yes, I will. And if they are who I think they are. They will know that she is false and will be able to suss me out. Make no aggressive move towards them, for I suspect that they are Alpha. Now go and make preparations,” Hermione nodded at Harry's salute and closed her door waiting for Luna to arrive with her armor. Her day was beginning with high adventure.   

Hermione then turned to her wardrobe and began to gather the clothing she would need to wear with her armor. She gathered a linen shirt, wool-lined leather breeches and her padded doublet. She also wrapped a binding around her full breasts in order to appear more male. She just hoped that the long chainmail shirt that went over her doublet would disguise her narrow waist and wide feminine hips.

She’d hoped to be standing in the front line of the archers to get a clear view of the invaders, but thought it might be best to be further back. Maybe she could even stand on a wooden box to appear taller than she was. She would have to see if Harry had anything that would work.

There was a knock on the door and Luna walked in the room, after Hermione called out. She was dressed as any gently bred young woman she be. Her velvet gown a pretty pale violet that complemented her fair coloring. She wore a silver girdle around her hips and it cinched in her waist just enough to appear feminine. Luna wasn’t as curvaceous as Hermione. Something that they each envied just a little bit.

Luna, because there was a certain Master of the Horse she had her eye on and Hermione because, having made it difficult for men to pay attention to what she was saying and not just looking at her body.

“You wished to see me, milady?” Luna asked in her dreamy voice, her blue eyes flitting about the room as if seeing creatures no one else could.  

“Yes, we are to play a charade today. You’re aware of the knights that are making their way to the Keep as we speak, yes?” Luna nodded, Hermione continued. “The Goddess Danu told me that they are my destined mates. But I need to know what they are like before I meet them personally. I need to know if they are just after the power I protect or if they too would bare the burden of guardianship of the sacred stones.

“To do this, I will be among the archers and you will greet them as if you are the lady of the Keep. I’m going to be dressed in armour and breeches, one or two rows within the ranks. Please don’t look for me in the crowd as that would most likely give us away.” Luna nodded at the instructions. She suspected that Hermione would want to pull something like this. She was headstrong and stubborn. Luna just flowed with circumstances, not bothered by who as in control. She tuned back into what Hermione was saying.

“It is possible they will suss out the deception quickly. I’ve told Harry to make no aggressive moves towards them. I want you to remain in the Great Hall and Harry will come and fetch you once they arrive. Do you have any questions?” Hermione asked her ladies maid.

“No, milady. I will await Harry in the Great Hall and we will play your charade. But I do have a word of caution. If, as you suspect these men are Alpha’s do you not think it wise to present them with the meek Omega? You could then use your wiles to gain back any power that you may lose when they arrive,” Luna looked at Hermione steadily, her logic undoubtedly sound.

“That seems counterproductive to me, Luna. I would rather present a strong Omega rather than a weak one. It sounds odd, I know, considering my designation. But I was raised by my parents to always think of my people and they cannot survive with a weak leader.” Hermione said as she finished buckling the belt around her hips to hold a short sword and adjusted the quiver of arrows over her shoulder.

“Not counterproductive, just pragmatic milady. But you are the Lady of the Keep and I shall follow you instructions.” Luna sighed dreamily, “I just hope you don’t regret your decision.”

“I feel that this is the right course, but only time and actions will tell for certain,” Hermione said and gestured for Luna to follow her out of the bedchamber and down to the Hall to break their fast. By the end of the day Grange Keep would have two new masters no matter what course was taken.

Chapter Text

Neither Severus or Lucius  saw the next knight charily approach William The Conqueror, as they left to journey to their awarded lands and prophesied mate. He was about the same height of Severus, but of slighter build. You wouldn’t think he would be able to hold a sword, let alone fight in a pitched battle. His dark hair shone in the dim candlelight of the antechamber. There was a greedy gleam in his eyes that went unnoticed as he stepped up to address the King before he left to do what Kings do.

William turned at the sound of shuffling feet that approached him, his hand on his sword hilt. Most would look upon the carrying of weapons in the house of God as blasphemous, but William was a warrior foremost and believed that he must always be prepared to defend his life and the church, so he carried his sword wherever he went. He noted who approached him and turned to address the knight as he drew nearer.

“Ah, my last of the Wizarding Knighthood, dost thou share in thy brothers joy of a known mate?”

Blushing the next knight shuffled his feet as he admitted quite shamefacedly,  “I’m a Beta, your Majesty. I don’t have the power of prophecy to see who my mate may or may not be.”

“Ah, that does rather put you at a cumbersome disadvantage,” William said, scratching at his cheek.

“Yes, your Majesty,” the knight said hollowly.

“But being a Beta didn’t stop you from showing valor on the field of battle. What boon would you wish to seek from me?” William asked.

“I wish to go in the same direction and live in the borderlands, the one the Romans called Glevum, your Majesty.”

“Hmm, that is next to the lands your fellow Wizards have also claimed? It seems that corner of my Kingdom is popular with wizards… I wonder why that might be?” William mused, but gave a mental shrug. Wizards were a strange folk. “Very well, I grant you the lands bordering those of your fellow Knights. The same will apply to you as them. You’re to claim an outpost and fortify it and do an accounting of all who live and work upon the land. This includes livestock and crops, everything.”

Again, the greedy gleam took over the Wizard’s eyes as he knelt down to the King granting him his lands. They would have been awarded to his elder brother if it hadn’t emerged that he’d been brutally killed on the battlefield. It appeared that his brother was not as good with the sword as he was a wand. Of course, you had to see your target to be able to defend against it, and that was what ultimately killed the Knight’s brother.

Remembering to bow once again the Knight glanced up with a suitably humble face smiling as he did so, “Yes, Your Majesty,” he simpered with due deference to the good Muggle King, “I shall endeavour to fulfil your desire.”

“Go claim your lands!”

“Your Majesty,” he said and backed away before spinning around and striding from the antechamber.

Once outside, he breathed in the crisp winter air and went to where his squire stood with their horses and possessions. From the look of the squire, you’d think he was a vagabond or a thief and not the right-hand man of a Knight of the realm.  He was dressed in an amalgamation of stolen finery, a red lock of hair amongst dark brown and startling blue eyes. He held a certain charm which made him a hit with ladies and whores alike. His charm was coupled with a certain ruthlessness that held him in great esteem with the Lestranges.

“Aloysius,” Rabastan Lestrange nodded curtly at his faithful squire.

Doffing his hand against his head Aloysius Scabior saluted with proficiency; “Sir, was your boon granted? Where are we to call home? Will there be a castle to claim and women to ravish? I do so hope there are a lot of women, my balls are turning as blue as my eyes.”

Counting up to ten, in order to keep calm, Rabastan released his hold on his menial stores of patience, finding the incessant questions wearying. This strained quality usually remained in a little sacred mental box. He couldn’t fault his squire, he was, after all, the man who’d killed his older brother on his orders so Rabastan could beg for the boon.

Rabastan swung up on his horses back in one fluid movement and locked his feet into the stirrups. When he was strapped safely into the saddle of his horse the man glanced down at his servant, trying not to show his disdain of the minion, loyal but a low-born freeman nonetheless. This man was more Beta than he was, Rabastan always felt he should have been born an Alpha. But no, his brother had been given that designation. A lot of good it served him in the end.

After Rabastan reached the count of ten, he glanced around the street outside of Westminster Abbey and said, “Glevum is in the borderlines, we ride there.”

“But, that’s hundreds of miles away, sir!” Aloysius said in dismay. It would take weeks for them to reach their destination at this time of year.

“Then you had best get packing, hadn’t you?” Rabastan said, picking at a torn cuticle.

“Yes, Sir,” Scabior said as he tipped his head with due deference, but silently gritted his teeth.

“Rabastan,” the knight said sitting proudly, grabbing hold of the sternum. “You are to address me as Sir Rabastan. Chatelain of Chấteaux Lestrange in Jersey. So, back to the barracks and then get your men. We are to follow de Malfoy and de Prinz.”

“Why are we following those mandrake mymmerkins?”

“They are Alpha’s,”  Rabastan replied, “they are not mandrake mymmerkins. And because they are Alpha, they would be able to quell any uprising on the way. Besides, I don’t think you would like to lead the way and more than likely become lost. They have a prophesied mate that they go to meet, it is rumoured that she may have fae blood. Of which, I doubt.”

“Shame you cannot meet with any of the fae,” Scabior said with a wicked gleam in his eye.

“The what… they’re as I said legends…nothing but fairytales.” Rabastan scoffed.

“All legends have some truth behind them,” Aloysius said wisely. “‘tis rumoured that the fae have the ability to recharge or change just about anything.”

“Change what exactly?”

Slyly Scabior peeked through his lashes at the corner of his eye, “The natural order of things,” he said, “like changing a Beta to an Alpha, perhaps?”

Rabastan’s destrier pranced with nervous energy, wanting to be given his head to run. Rabastan yanked at the reigns sharply steadying the brute, reminding the beast just who was boss. Scabior stood slightly away to rein the jittery horse in even further. Whirls of steam exited through the stallions distended nostrils and open mouth, the clip-clop of other horses and knights could be heard, Rabastan nodded to the ones who seemed to know him.

“As I said, Scabior, the fae are a myth,” Rabastan sighed, “go gather your men, now. We don’t have time to deal with the fantastical.”

Scabior nodded as he floridly bowed, in a flamboyant gesture, “Milord, I shall do so.”

When Rabastan finally turned and galloped away from the Abbey, Scabior smiled and whistled as he was on his way to the nearest pub. With a swirl, he disapparated to the nearest pub in Knockturn Alley. He’d discovered the hidden and dark offshoot of the main wizarding shopping district one evening when he was trying to hide from an irate husband, whose wife he had helped to cuckold.

Deep within the shadowy labyrinthian passageways of Knockturn Alley he’d come across The Broken Wand and soon felt at home amongst the brawling masses. He pushed open the door and scanned his surroundings. He nodded to several of his men that were scattered around the shadowy interior of the pub. It was not a place that upstanding wizards would venture, unless they were up to something nefarious.

Some of the men had wenches on their laps, others were quaffing beer and mead while singing a bawdy song about a Wizard’s appendage and still others were sitting in a dark corner and throwing dice and making wagers. It made Scabior smirk as he made his way to the bar, these were his people. He looked up to flag down for service, a comely and buxom maid was working behind the rough hewn bar top, he smirked and winked at her.

“What’ll you have?” the witch asked as she charmed a barrel of mead closer.

“You, if you’ll let me,” he winked lasciviously.

She blushed, “I’m not on the menu. So, what’ll you have?”

“A tankard of your finest ale, please,” he said affecting a heartbroken look. The bar wench giggled and poured him a tankard.

It was not long before he was gasping and smacking his lips with the refreshment, “That is lovely, lass, still would rather have you - what’s your name then?”

“Daphne,” she said.

“OI! Eyes off!” A huge hulking man stood behind Daphne. “This’s me wife you’re talkin’ to here!”

Rolling her eyes, Daphne turned around to placate him, “Neville, it’s fine,” she soothed him with a gentle chest massage and a kiss on the lips. “You’re the only man I want to bed. The stranger was just being kind, that’s all.”

“Even so,” Neville glowered placing her behind him, “I will serve the gentlemen from now on and you’ll serve the wenches.”

“Yes, darling, of course,” she sighed talking to him in soft tones. “Everything‘s alright.”

Just then the door to the pub was thrown open and let in a blast of cold December air and snow. All activity ceased for a moment as everyone squinted to see who it could be.

“DAMN MY EYES IT’S GOOD TO SEE YOU,” a voice roared above the sudden silence, “TRULY IS!”

“GREYBACK!” Scabior yelled just as boisterously and clapped the hulking man on the back. The man now known as Greyback grinned wolfishly at the pretty barmaid. But then shrugged when she showed no interest and from the looks being thrown at him by the glowering man standing next to her, she wasn’t worth the effort.

“What can I do fer ye?” Greyback asked Scabior after the glowering barman slammed down his tankard of ale, and all other activity resumed in the pub.

“I need you to scent the direction of the nearest fae to Glevum, Milord and Master wishes to live there but the problem is… he’s a Beta as am I, we need to change that and only fae can do it.”

“You do know I’m a werewolf, right? I could turn you into an Alpha with just a bite.” Greyback grinned, his fangs shining whitely in the dim pub.

“No thanks,” Scabior twisted his features in disgust and sighed, “we’ll take our chances with the fae, thank you. I don’t much reckon to the idea of turning furry once a month.”

“What do you think would happen when you become Alpha’s?” Greyback asked innocently, wondering how he could work this job to his advantage.

“I could knock you off the top spot, that’s for damned sure,” Scabior joked ribaldly, “however, we have bigger fish to catch at the moment,” his expression darkened. “Much bigger fish to catch.”

Greyback sat back and looked at Scabior consideringly. Though Beta, he was ambitious and cunning. If the fae were to change him to an Alpha, he would be a force to be reckoned with. Greyback didn’t know much about Rabastan Lestrange, so couldn’t determine if this request was really a good idea or not.

Scabior quaffed the remaining ale in his tankard, clapped Greyback on his shoulder again and said, “Gather your wolves and meet us in Glevum. Stay out of sight of de Malfoy and de Prinz they are headed in the same direction to claim their mate and her lands. We can’t have them gain too big an advantage in this new land.”

“What importance does this supposed mate have to do with the power struggle? Women are common and have no real importance other than producing young.” Greyback waved dismissively.

“‘Tis rumoured that she is Omega with Fae ancestry. Not only that, but ‘tis rumoured that she is also the guardian of a sacred circle of stones and they protect a hidden power, one that could make one indisputably powerful. One that could topple as King, perhaps?” Scabior raised his brow at Greyback significantly.

Greyback had to surreptitiously wipe drool from his chin. A fae Omega and the guardian of an unknown power?  He could picture it now, him sitting on the throne of the new English King. He would be dripping in jewels and he could change anyone with impunity. He wondered what this fae Omega looked like, would she make a good Queen? Greyback was startled from his musing and snarled at Scabior for clicking his fingers in front of his face.

“No, time to delay, my friend. Gather your wolves and my master and I will meet you in about three weeks time in Glevum.” and with that he tossed some coins onto the bar top and sauntered out of the pub leaving Greyback to consider all that he’s been told.

Oh, he’ll gather his wolves, alright. Greyback thought. But whether or not he would still do as Scabior wanted was still up in the air. He slammed the rest of his ale, he had some plans to make.  

Chapter Text

Severus had been awake with the dawn. He had a sense of anticipation that wouldn’t dissipate, no matter how hard he tried. He would be meeting his true mate on this day and he hoped that it would be without casualty. He and Lucius would be the rulers of this land and he was loathed to have his new people fear him without cause.

Make no doubt, he would punish those that deserved it, but he wanted to be known as a benelivant lord, not a tyrant. Severus was dressed in his newly polished chainmail hauberk. The black scales of his dragon hide jerkin gleamed in the dim light of the tent. While most jerkins were sleeveless, he had made sure his had sleeves included. It allowed for much freer movement as opposed to the chainmail that most of the Muggle knights wore. Not to mention no Muggle weapon could pierce dragonhide.

He was able to wield his sword with ease, which made battle much easier to manage. He was even able to channel most defensive spells through his long sword, leaving offensive spells to his wand. His standard was one he was proud of as he created it himself, he wore it as a tabard on his chest. It consisted of a black shield and a single chevron, his animal was a giant silver snake and his motto “Semen scientiam, sapientia et metunt eos”.  

The reason he had been drawn to Duke William, was because Severus too was a bastard born of a noble line. The only one to survive to adulthood. The only difference was that it was his mother who was high-born and his father of common stock.

His mother was of the de Prinz family. A family of wizards that could trace their lineage back to Merlin and Nimue. Eileen de Prinz had been the victim of a ransom plot gone bad. Her father had insulted a wizard who’d wanted Eileen for his bride. So she had been kidnapped and was about to be led to the altar to be wed against her will when a landless knight had rescued her and brought her back to her family. But not before claiming her virtue and leaving her pregnant along with the ransom money. The only thing Eileen had known was that his name had been Snape and that he was a Muggle knight.

So, as Eileen’s virginity was taken, she was no longer a well-placed bride on the marriage market. Her father Rualphric de Prinz had sent her to a nunnery and had taken her babe to raise as his heir. Severus had one of the best educations a minor noble family could provide. He had an affinity with brewing potions and spell creation. And while he could still lay claim to the de Prinz family lands he had wanted to go out and prove himself to the world. His Grandfather had given him his blessing and he had made his way to Hugh De Montfort, when he was but seven summers old.

He had started out as a page and slowly worked his way up. When he was fourteen he had traveled on and became one of many squires to Duke William. That was where he first met Armond Lucius Malfoy. Lucius had been a year older than Severus and already had a firm grasp of his duties as a squire. He’d taken the thin Severus de Prinz under his wing and they became fast friends.

It was when Severus was twenty-five and Lucius twenty-six that they both earned their spurs and became knights to Duke William. They had been out hunting wild boar with the Duke’s son Robert when a large male had come charging out of the underbrush. It had gored Robert’s horse, causing the horse to fall upon the young lord. Both Lucius and Severus had stunned the boar and then dispatched it before he could harm Robert. This act of bravery had earned Severus and Lucius the title of Knight.

Severus was ripped from his recollections when Lucius stepped into the tent, “Are you ready to meet your destiny, my friend?” Lucius asked as he too donned his tabard. It was black and green with a large ornate “M” on the shield and flanked by two water dragons.

“Always, Lucius.” Severus returned and both walked out of the tent and mounted their horses. With a flick of a wand, Lucius’ squire had dismantled the tent and stowed on the pack wagon. And then he too mounted his horse, blew on a horn to gain everyone’s attention. Lucius and Severus turned their horses about and addressed their men.

“We go forth this day to stake a claim upon these fertile fields. We are gallant and chivalrous men. Do not terrorize the people, for they will be our people. We go to the keep and make it our own!” A thunderous cheer echoed in the valley where they had camped the previous night. With standard raised high, both Lucius and Severus marched their men towards their destiny.  

****

Lucius sat atop his war horse and thought about his life up until this moment. He’d born into a long line of pure-blood wizards and had that doctrine stuffed into his head from infancy. However, as much as he thought that wizards were superior, Muggles outnumbered wizards almost ten to one. And as a result he had been sent to the court of the Muggle Duke to learn all he would need to further the Malfoy land holdings and keep them.

When he was fifteen he had received an owl from his father saying that he was betrothed to Narcissa Dubois Noir. She was but a child of twelve and they were to be married. It wasn’t an uncommon thing to marry early, as life was often brutal and short. She was a beauty, her silver blonde hair had fallen in gentle curls down her back to her hips. Her crystal blue eyes could melt or freeze with a look, she had never had a strong constitution, and so he was leary of actually bedding her to beget an heir. But he hadn’t reached his majority and so was still under the editch of his father. He had been happy with the match even though he knew she wasn’t his true mate and a Beta at that.

They remained betrothed for almost three years before they were wed, He just turning eighteen and she fifteen. On the night of the consummation, he hadn’t had to ply her with wine as he had been lead to believe. While she had still been a virgin, it was apparent that she’d had a rather worldly education. He was actually a little disappointed when she fell pregnant right away. He would’ve liked to spend more time with her before his heir was born.

Narcissa had seemed to have an easy time with her pregnancy and labor had progressed as it should. Just after midnight on June 5th, 1049 Ambrios Draconis de Malfoy was born. He was a sickly child and it was feared for a time that he would not survive to see his christening. But it seemed some force of will turned the wheel of fate and he improved rapidly. Sadly however, everyday that Draco improved Narcissa weakened and ten days after giving birth she passed in her sleep.

Lucius had mourned for her and he had thought he would never find his true mate. He devoted what time he could to the raising of his son and heir. He had employed vast numbers of servants and elves to take care of Draco’s every need. Draco had his mother’s silver blonde hair, but his father’s piercing grey eyes and build. He would be as large as his father once he reached adulthood. Lucius had found a wizarding noble to take his son as hostage and raise him to be a knight of the realm. He would one day over see the vast holdings that the de Malfoy family held in Flanders and Normandy.

Once Lucius was satisfied that his son would be well looked after he had returned to Duke Williams court and fought alongside Muggle and wizarding Knights in the glory of chivalry. He had been a favorite among the ladies of Williams court and could have had the pick of any one of them as his next bride. But he had vowed that he wouldn’t wed again unless it was to his true mate.

It hadn’t stopped his from taking any number of women to his bed, though he did stick to mostly Beta’s. Omega’s in Williams court were rare and snapped up as soon as they presented themselves. The Duke’s own wife Matilda was an Omega, but because she was with her true mate her scent didn’t attract other Alpha’s. It acted more as a calming agent for Matilda was a maternal person and would mother anyone whether they needed it or not.

Lucius’ musings were interrupted as he noticed Severus pull to a halt beside him. Severus looked at him from the corner of his eyes and smirked, it seemed today was a day for ruminations. He’d noticed that Lucius mind wasn’t with him when he’d tried to tease him about what they would find at the fast approaching keep.

“Ah, are you back from wherever you had gone off to?” Severus asked with a sly grin. “I have to wonder what had you so deep in thought, my friend?”

“Nothing on consequence, Severus. I see we are coming close to the keep. I don’t see any soldiers or defenses in place. D’you s’pose they are expecting us?” Lucius asked as he scanned the large wooden structure sitting atop of large mound. They were close to the outer bailey and could see the peasants working at their chores, the gates standing open and only a few soldiers guarding the battlements.

“The first thing to do will be to fortify this place. I wonder at the quality of the stone in these parts?” Severus mused as he too scanned to make sure there was no immediate threat.

Just then they both tensed as a rider and horse came barreling out of the gate and made straight for them. There were no other soldiers behind him, so it was assumed that he was there to greet the visitors.

The rider pulled up and looked at Severus and Lucius with slightly suspicious eyes. He was young, messy black hair and vivid green eyes. The rider sketched a half bow while reining in his prancing mount.

“You are the Normans milady foretold of. Why did you not continue to the keep yestereve when you knew you were close?” The rider asked with a slight accusatory tone in his voice.

“First, we would know who you are, welp. And second we would only speak to your lady. What would her name be?” Lucius stepped forward and said imperiously.

“I’m Harry, master of the horse and steward to Grange Keep. Milady’s name would be Lady Hermione Grange, Priestess of the Great Circle of Stonehenge. Now sirs, I would have your names to be able to present you to milady properly.” Harry said with barely concealed animosity. These usurpers would have to fight to earn his loyalty. His first duty was always to his Lady.                   

“I’m Armond Lucius de Malfoy, Norman knight to Duke, now King William of England. And this dark forbidding man beside me is Auguste Severus de Prinz. We have come by decree of the king to settle these lands and take to bride the lady that holds them. Now, with the introductions completed, please lead the way, Harry, Master of the horse.” Lucius said with the same imperious tone as before. Severus had remained quietly scowling at the impudent pup who dared keep him from his mate.

“Very well, but your men must stay outside of the gates until such time that permission is granted by milady. And then they are to venture no further than the curtain wall of the inner bailey. Your squires may accompany you to greet milady.” Harry said and not waiting for a reply wheeled his horse about and galloped back toward the keep.

Severus and Lucius looked at each other and as one turned and address the men at arms behind them. “Make camp near the outer bailey wall. We go to meet the lady of the keep. Edmond, Gervase you are to accompany us to the keep. When we have further instructions someone will bear a message. Remember, these people are to be your people, so respect them and I’m sure they will do the same.” Severus spoke and they turned their steeds to follow the quickly dissipating trail of dust left in Harry’s wake.     

Chapter Text

Hermione felt a lump in her stomach. She was nervous, she was going to try and fool the two wizards that Harry had just left to retrieve. She didn’t know if she would be able to pull it off. She wasn’t doing this to deceive them per se, she just wanted to get a measure of them. If she found them to be honorable, she would reveal herself to them. If not? Well, she hadn’t quite thought of what she would do in that case.

Hermione was dressed in a chainmail vest over a padded doublet and breeches. Her hair was braided back tightly and hidden by the coif of her helmet. She carried with her a long bow that she was quite proficient with. One of her mother’s clans men had fashioned it for her. It practically sang with magic, making her aim true at anything she shot at.

Checking her appearance in the polished silver mirror one more time she left her room and went to stand with the other bowmen and men at arms that resided in Grange Keep. She cast a quick spell to disguise the look of her bow as it was too unique to be a regular issue. She lined up in the second row toward the middle, hoping her small stature will go mostly unnoticed.

The sound of thundering hoofbeats echoed in the inner bailey and she looked up to see Harry pull back hard on the reins. His horse reared back and he jumped off. “Milady? Are you here?” he asked the cluster of men around her.

“Yes, Harry. I’m here. What news? How long do we have?” Hermione asked as she pushed through the soldiers in front of her.

“Not long, I left them giving instructions to their men. I told them that they must remain in the outer bailey, and to leave the people unmolested. They’re powerful, both of them. Are you sure this ruse is a good idea?” Harry asked, his green eyes showing concern.

“I need to get a read on them and the best way to do that would be to play this little diversion. Quickly, they should be upon us soon. Don’t worry, Harry. They won’t hurt me. Now, go inform Luna so that she can act in my stead,” Hermione said and melted back into the crowd of archers around her.

“Yes, Milady.,” Harry said and strode toward the Keep and into the Great Hall to speak to Luna. He couldn’t help but feel anxious over the plan Hermione is enacting. It was flimsy at best and disastrous at worst. What if these Norman invaders threw Hermione in the dungeon? What if they tried to force her to do something she would find abhorrent? Harry found Luna calmly drinking a cup of mead and nibbling on some bread near the central fire. He approached her and asked.

“Luna? Are you ready to act in our Lady’s stead? Remember, you must act as if you are the lady of the Keep, until such time that Lady Hermione reveals herself to these invaders,” Harry asked as he walked into the Great Hall. The large central fire pit blazing and warming the huge room.

“Yes, Harry, my love. I’m prepared to meet these men that our lady has dreamt of. But you worry too much. While I don’t know these men and things could go terribly wrong, I do trust in milady and she won’t lead us astray. Now, go. You’re the master of the horse and Steward. You must be there to greet these men. I’ll be out in a thrice,” Luna said in her usual effervescent manner. What she said was true, she did trust in Lady Hermione and while she was worried she wouldn’t let that affect her and her Lady’s plan.

***

Severus and Lucius had finished giving their men instructions and were making their way into the inner bailey. Their hands on the hilt of their swords and wands at the ready should anything happen. They could feel the distrustful gazes of the people they passed and Severus had to fight hard not to shudder. Lucius seemed not to be affected by the hostility, his icy calm demeanor a shield to the outside world.

Neither man spoke and their squires followed also silent. Severus and Lucius both felt a sense of anticipation. They would meet their true mate this day. Ever since seeing her floating above them on the battlefield, they both yearned to lay claim to her.  They just knew she would be powerful and beautiful and give them good strong cubs.

Severus felt a stirring in his groin at the thought of finally claiming his mate. He shifted in his saddle, his seat becoming uncomfortable. He just hoped that she would have some passion and not lay beneath him like a board. He didn’t think it would be possible for her not to respond to them, but there was always that smallest of chances.

He was sure she would still have her maidenhead, her maiden’s blood would make for a powerful healing potion that any of them would be able to use in the event of near death. He didn’t think it would ever come to such, but it always pays to be prepared.  

Both he and Lucius clattered into the inner bailey, he was impressed with the ranked archers and men at arms that were standing at attention. Severus swept his eyes along the group of men, but paused at a suspicious ‘hole’ within the ranks. He smirked inwardly, knowing all wasn’t as it seemed. He then scanned the parapet walls and finally settled on the ereathal woman standing on the steps leading up to the Great Hall. He was quite impressed, for a motte and bailey keep it seemed to be well organized. The Inner bailey had even been cobblestoned to prevent it from becoming a sea of mud and excrement.

He reined in his destrier, Obsidian and Lucius did the same on his left. Both of them dismounted at the same time and began to walk up to the woman waiting for them. Once reaching the stairs Lucius addressed her, but made sure that his voice was heard by all.

“Are you the Lady of this Keep? If so we have been sent here by our new King to claim and settle these lands. We are your new masters and nothing ill will befall you or your people, if you do as bidden.”

“I am the Lady you seek, Milords, I bid you welcome to my home. I have long known of your approach and have instructed my people to treat you as masters of this land,” the willowy blonde said breezily as she waved about the inner bailey.

“That is magnanimous of you, Lady,” Severus spoke up, but his eyes continued to stray to the mysterious ‘hole’ in the ranks of soldiers. He just felt that the actual lady of the keep was trying to hide from them.

“I trust that your own men will not cause too many disruptions until such a time that we can all work together. My people are your people now and we will defer to you in all things” Luna said gently.

You’re laying it on a bit thick there, Luna’ Hermione thought as she shifted her weight from one foot to another. Maybe Luna thought that is how an Omega was supposed to act around two such powerful Alpha’s? There were no other Alpha’s around that she knew of and Hermione was not a shrinking violet by any means. Hermione shifted again, she could feel the dark one’s eyes scan over where she was standing and suspected he knew there was deceit afoot.

“We accept your hospitality, Lady. But we know you aren’t actually the Lady of this Keep. We saw her and she doesn’t resemble you at all. So, I would suggest that she reveal herself and quickly. As you said, your people are now our people and if I must punish our people for your lady’s insubordination, it would set us off on the wrong foot.” Severus said smoothly, his arms crossed over his chest. There was an indrawn gasp of breath from all in the inner bailey and a lot of shuffling feet.

What kind of punishment could these Norman’s have in store for them? It was felt that these men weren’t only Alpha’s but wizards as well, the magic fairly crackled off of them. They could devise all sorts of torture to inflict upon them. Hermione had just made the decision to step forward and reveal herself when a commotion erupted over by the kitchens.

“Hermiiiiioneeee! Haaaaalllllp! Get this lumbering behemoth away from me!” and a rather large weasel like creature came bounding through the gathered crowd and made a beeline toward the empty spot within the ranks of archers. It was being chased by a large woman wielding a huge pan and sharp knife.

“Get back ‘ere, you thievin’ little weasel. If I catch you in my larder again, I’ll gut you an’ spit roast you, an’ serve you up on the ‘igh table, I will!” the large woman yelled waving the knife around.

“No you won’t, you old traps! Hermione will protect me!” the weasel said and blew a rather juicy raspberry at the red faced woman as he sat perched up on Hermione’s helmet.         

“Milady Hermione ‘an’t always protect you, you little vermin! One of these days, you’ll be nickin’ somethin’ and wham! I gots ya! Yer nothin’ but a quisby loiter-sack!” the woman yelled back. Severus and Lucius could only guess that she was the keeps cook. Both had to fight hard not to roar with laughter at the insults being flung back and forth as they watched the drama unfold.

“Like you could ever catch me, you fat-faced, pimply-arsed bespawling, driggle-draggle fustylugs! She’d turn you into a frog, before she’d let anything happen to me, you sot-nosed fopdoodle!” and the large weasel balled up its fist and shook it at the cook, who was practically vibrating with rage.  

“I think we have heard quite enough!” Lucius commanded loudly and then turned to look at Severus, who was looking at the creature perched on “Hermione’s” helmet. “Lady Hermione, I presume? Why not show yourself and act like a lady should? What did you hope to accomplish with this little charade?”

“I ain’t no Lady, you mandrake mymmerkin! Me name’s Reginald, or you can call me your supreme ruler of all things delicious and shiny. Now, bow before me, you levereater yaldson!” Reginald commanded just as imperiously as Lucius had.

“Reg! This is not the time!” And two delicate hands reached up and plucked the weasel creature off her helmet, “I meant no insult, milords. I just wanted to form my own opinion without it being clouded by our respective stations,” Hermione said and the archers parted to allow her through. Her back straight, shoulders thrown back and chin raised defiantly she walked forward and felt the overwhelming power that seemed to seep off these two men. She had to fight hard not to lower her eyes meekly, even though her inner Omega was pleading for her to do just that.

Both Severus and Lucius were hit with a jolt of lust at seeing the tiny curvaceous woman finally show herself, dressed in men’s breeches and chainmail vest. Her helmet concealed most of her face, but both knew that this was their mate. She was finally more than just an apparition.

“Remove your helm, milady. We would look upon you properly,” Severus said softly, his black eyes heated. The breeches molded to every curve on her lower body and he longed to see her limbs unclothed.

She reached up and tugged the helmet off her head. The tight plait she had her hair in had loosened and wild curls tumbled down her back to her hips. Her hair was in shades of mahogany, copper and gold. Her eyes a warm brown with flecks of gold and green. She was in short exquisite. Severus felt he needed to get her out of sight before he or Lucius made fools of themselves for he could feel the waves of lust that rolled off Lucius at Hermione’s appearance.

“You’re a cheeky little baggage, demoiselle. I feel we have gotten off on the wrong foot. I implore you to go within the Keep and change into something more fitting of your station. We can’t have our people seeing a little hoyden as their lady, now can we. Shoo!” and he waved his hand toward the main doors where both Luna and Harry were waiting.

Hermione felt her face flush with anger. These Norman’s had no idea just who they were dealing with. She drew herself up to her full five foot, five inch height and began to yell, “You think you can just come into my home and command me to your will?!? I’ll not do it! It may have been foretold that I would have two mates and that they would be Norman invaders, but it was never said that my mates would be you!” Hermione hissed, “You’ll not treat me like a child!” she then raised her hand and her bow appeared, an arrow already knocked.

“Expelliarmus!” Severus roared and her bow flew to his hand. “A magic bow, huh? you do surprise me, milady. Now do as you were told and change out of those men’s clothes, your lady’s maid will then fetch them and they will be burned. You will act the lady and not a de put aire puteresse!” and he allowed a bit of Alpha command to seep into his voice.

Immediately, Hermione deflated, her inner Omega taking control of her body and she stumbled over to Luna and Harry. Both grabbed an arm and guided her into the Great Hall. Everyone else in the inner bailey shuffling about, not sure what they should do. Lucius taking up the slack tuned to the Grange soldiers and commanded, “Attention! Who is the commander of the men at arms and archers?”

One bold archer stepped forward, “The Lady Hermione is our commander, she learned at her father’s knee and we follow her.”

“Is that so? Well from this day forward, Lady Hermione is no longer your commander, we are. I’m Armand Lucius de Malfoy and this is Auguste Severus de Prinz. Lady Hermione is our foretold mate and you will follow our orders from this day forward. Now, where are the knights quarters?” Lucius asked and looked around not seeing anything that he would call knights barracks.

“We don’t have anything that would resemble knight quarters, milord. All of the archers and men at arms are family men and either live in the village on the other side of the motte or sleep within the outer bailey,” the same archer answered.

“Well that is something we’ll have to rectify and soon,” Lucius mused, when suddenly a scream pierced the air. Severus was about to reach for his sword and wand when the words became clear,

“NO! YOU’LL NOT BURN MY BREECHES! LUNA!”

Lucius then sidled up to Severus and and said softly, “I think we have a firebrand on our hands, my friend. But do you think it wise to have her clothing burned? She may harbor resentment towards us because of it.”

“Undoubtedly, but she will be so fun to tame, don’t you agree?” Severus said just as softly, his black eyes smoldering with the prospect of a challenge.

“Yes, my friend. Yes, indeed,” Lucius said and smirked wickedly staring up at the Keep where Hermione’s yells continued to echo down to them.

Chapter Text

All was quiet in Grange Keep, after the excitement of the Norman Knights arriving and laying claim to the keep, people soon lost interest and went back to their daily chores. At least those who had witnessed the whole ordeal had. The peasants and serfs that lived and worked on the other side of the Keep would have to make due with second hand gossip.

Luna lay in her small chamber off of Hermione’s. Though she had been offered a much larger apartment, as Hermione’s friend and confidant. She had chosen to use the maids quarters to be closer to her friend and fae sister.

All evening Luna had felt that something was approaching on the horizon, but couldn’t access her seeing ability unless she were asleep. So, late that evening when all had found their beds, she lay on her own feather mattress and slowly breathed in and out, falling into a light doze.

Her eyes began to move rapidly beneath her eyelids as images bombarded her mind. She saw dark clouds forming in the north toward the ancient Roman province of Glevum. The clouds then took on the shape of a wolf that rapidly morphed into a man. Behind the wolfman was another, no two other men. One standing slightly higher than the one closest to the wolfman. It meant he thought himself more important or powerful.

The man closest to the wolfman was awash in different colors, black was dominant, it symbolized the unknown, the unconscious, danger, hate or malice. But there was also ivory, signifying superiority over others. Alternatively, ivory symbolized tainted purity. And the last color was a vibrant, almost pulsing pink, which represented sex and lust. There were other minor colors, but those three were dominant. Luna could only guess that this man was a danger, but had a purity about him. He was also ruled by lust, it could be for flesh, gold or life; Luna wasn’t certain.

The man standing behind the first was almost all black, but there were swirls of purple and red that mingled within the black. Purple is indicative of devotion, healing abilities, love, kindness, and compassion. It is also the color of royalty, high rank, justice, wealth and dignity. Luna didn’t feel that devotion, kindness or compassion ranked high with this man. He had the feeling that he thought very highly of himself almost like royalty. Red was more dominant than purple. Red indicated raw energy, force, vigor, intense passion, aggression, power, courage and impulsiveness. Luna could only think that this man was one to be ruled by his wants and was the one most likely to betray to get what he wanted and damn the consequences. And lastly suffused with all of the other colors was yellow, but it wasn’t bright and sunny. No, it was sickly and Luna knew that it meant deceit, disgrace, betrayal, cowardice and sickness. In short, this man was dangerous.

Just then, Luna saw Hermione enter her dream, she was walking along a babbling brook and humming to herself. She was shown to be surrounded by a halo of silver, it was for justice and purity. It is symbolic of protective energy. Luna thought about Hermione’s duty to protect Stonehenge and the power that lay dormant beneath. Hermione, also shown to have teal and violet within the silver. Luna knew that it was meant to indicate her spirituality and her purification, affection, gentleness, charm, and peacefulness.

As Hermione continued to walk along the brook, all three ‘men’ turned toward her and advanced. She didn’t look up and suddenly the wolfman broke away from the other two and changed into his wolf form. He sprinted toward Hermione and sprang upon her, grabbing her by the arm and dragged her away. Hermione for her part fought to free herself, but he was too strong. The wolfman drug her to the north, toward the other two. They knelt down and the one with the sickly yellow color laid a hand on her belly. A light rose from within Hermione and surrounded the man, he began to change. Growing bigger and darker. Once the change was complete, he fell upon her, tore at her clothing and mounted her. Hermione screamed and fought, but it was no use. Luna watched helpless as her friend was violated.

Once the first man was finished, he picked Hermione up and tossed her to the wolfman and the other. The wolfman growled and racked his nails down Hermione’s side. Blood pooled and he lapped it up, he then turned her over and forced her on her knees and he too mounted her. He howled as he finished inside of her and with no glance whatsoever turned and left her with the last man. The one with ivory mingling in the black. Luna couldn’t bare to see her friend violated again and tried to turn away, but was unable. And just as the last man was about to mount Hermione, everything froze.

Luna looked around in puzzlement as the horrific scene of a violated Hermione and the three men faded, leaving her alone. She squinted as a figure approached. It was cloaked and Luna at first thought it could be an old woman, but then the figure morphed to be standing upright and walking with purpose and then morphed again to appear like a child. The figure stopped before Luna and began to speak. The voice was both young and old, scratchy and smooth, deep and high. Luna felt a slight pounding in her head, but listened to what the figure was saying.

“I show you these images so that you know what is coming for your mistress and friend. She must be claimed by her knights to unlock her power. She will be a conduit to help defeat a great evil. Her mates will act as her ground, for if she is not, she will be lost. She is not the first, nor will she be the last. Take my warnings to heart, child and seek alliances with her mates. The men that are a danger to the Guardian will try to use her powers to change what they are, to go from Beta to Alpha. One goes by the name Lastrange, his companion Scabior and the wolfman Greyback. They are closer than you think. Take heed of these names and warn the Guardian’s mates of the approaching danger.      

“‘Tis imperative that Hermione complete her bond with Malfoy and Prinz, she will fight them and eventually give in. Do not be surprised if she is found to be missing from her bed in the morning. I have visited her and advised her to seek her mother’s mother. Know that she is safe for the moment and will be seeking council with her Grandmother. You must pass on this message for I can only visit those of my kin. You, Luna; child of the moon are my messenger. Now go and perform the task set before you. Fare thee well.” The figure then just seemed to melt away, leaving Luna to ponder the message. It would take some strategy, but she knew she could do what must be done. Luna’s breath slowly deepened and she finally slept.    

^*^*

A tent flapped open and out stormed the leader of the troop, Greyback and his wolves immediately stood to attention as Rabastan Lestrange glared angrily at them.

“What is the meaning of this delay?” Rabastan snarled. “You are supposed to be leading me to the fae witch, I need her before I can settle in my lands.”

“I’m sorry m’lord but the scent seems to be evading us for the moment. I fear we may be too late, her mates might…” Greyback began to say.

Rabastan brandished his wand at Greyback and snapped out a Crucio - a forbidden spell that caused the receiver agonising pain, if one too many were cast, it could drive a person mad.

Scabior, seeing this, immediately ran to his master’s side, bringing his own wand out and blocking the next Crucio sent the werewolf’s way. The squire then stood in between the men, first glaring at Rabastan - the Lord he was loyal to - and then at Greyback, the Werewolf he could somewhat control, if only through the promise of gold. The tension was high and Scabior gestured impatiently to a couple of other wolves, commanding;  “Remus, Bill, take him away from ‘ere, I’ll try and reason with his Lordship.”

Two junior and extremely beta werewolves jumped and took the order. They had both been turned by Greyback at a fairly young age and only knew life as a werewolf. The young men were good lieutenants that was true, but had no interest in rising in the ranks. Scabior watched as Greyback was subsequently taken away and then turned his attention back to his childhood friend.

“What did you think to gain from injuring the strongest ally you’ve got, m’lord?”

“You forget your place, Scabior,” Rabastan seethed as he jammed his wand back in its holster. I’m your Lord and master and my word is law. If I feel that punishment is needed, I’ll meet it out.”

“Really?” Scabior tilted his head and pierced him with an admonishing look. He observed how the other man soon began to squirm not meeting his eyes, “I’ve been your advisor since the days of our boyhood, when have I ever steered you wrong? Do you realise how much damage your impulsive actions has caused? Now, it’s up to me to convince Greyback not to turn on us. We need him, m’lord and your temper is getting in the way.”

“You said the fae could be found easily by werewolves,” Rabastan complained with a slight truculent tone in his voice.

“Perhaps he’s right and the other Alpha’s scents have masked hers already. Because of your temper tantrum, we cannot take advantage of his tracking abilities. Not with him in his current incumbent position,” Scabior stated plainly so that there would be no mistaking his meaning.

Rabastan looked his squire in the eye and said, “I am pleased you killed my brother for me, Scabior, but at times you forget yourself. Remember, once you were my whipping boy. It would be very easy to make you such again, but instead of my father’s hand wielding the whip, it would be my own.”

“Even so, still I’m at your side,” he smirked as he bowed, blue eyes twinkling mischievously. He knew it was an empty threat, Rabastan didn’t have the guts. But that could all change if they were to find the fae Omega and effect a change of Rab’s designation from Beta to Alpha. So, Scabior said nothing to raise his lord’s ire more. Instead, he advised, “Go back to your tent and you best hope and pray that I can undo the political damage you’ve caused,” he sighed. “I know you’re impatient m’lord, to better yourself and your situation,” Scabior drew closer to Rabastan, “but you can’t do it by being the angel of judgement, you need to exercise restraint, a trait, I know; you little possess but harness it you must, for now.”

“You’re worse than a mother hen,” Rabastan tried to effect a pout, but failed as it looked more like a grimace, “fine, I shall be in my tent but you better tell that werewolf to get that nose of his out of his own arse and find that fae witch soon, scent or no scent. I don’t care how many simple folk get hurt, tell that wolf and all his pack to use whatever means are at their disposal to find out where that fae hussy is. Once she is mine I shall…” Rabastan’s eyes took on a glazed look.

Scabior quickly interrupted, “M’Lord, best not to air your plan out in the open, only, some of the men and wolves are loyal to us. We must maintain caution until such a time that it’s feasible to air all of your plans. I’ll go to Greyback and once I’m assured of his continuing loyalty, I shall return.”

Rabastan nodded, feeling chastened yet again. He must really learn to hold his tongue and temper. But, then again once the fae witch was his, it really wouldn’t matter. Her power will be his power. He then turned and went back into his tent, leaving Scabior to go check on the werewolf and assure his loyalty.

With confidence Scabior didn’t really feel, he walked in the midst of the werewolves. They had all growled a warning at him as he walked past, but he didn’t care one knut about them. His main concern was how he was going to sell Rabastan back to the man who’d just been tortured by him.

He finally found his target by a big pyre of flame, little licks of it seemed to flicker and curl in the air that distorted shadows on the nearby moss covered rocks and trees. The shadow dance mesmerised Scabior for a small moment, then he heard Greyback wheeze.

“If you’re wonderin’ if the deals off, it ain’t! If that mandrake mymmerkin had any idea of what an alpha can really do, he’s more foolish than you think. But, if he doesn’t learn to control his temper, he just may find himself being our dinner guest...” Greyback growled leaving the rest of the threat unspoken. Scabior gulped silently, he knew it was not an idle threat.

“What do you think we should do then, Fen?” Scabior sighed as he sat down next to the still twitching werewolf, he was thankful the full moon was a fortnight to come, “why are you hanging around when, normally, having been disrespected like that you’d leave?”

“I got me a vision too, reckon this fae has more than one mate - least wise,” Fenrir winked, “more than one choice of mate an’ I reckon it’s gonna be me.”

“What if she has already mated with her other ones?”

Fenrir shrugged nonchalantly, “I don’t give a toss what some man on a horse tells me to do, I can be just as stubborn. If they ain’t mated with ‘er yet per’aps she’s too feisty for ‘em! But I likes ‘em feisty, much more fun to tame. ‘Pose she’d make a good wolf? And if she is mated, who’s to say that they don’t run afoul somewheres. This be a wildland, afterall...”

“Perhaps,” Scabior sighed as he poked the fire to keep it alive. “Listen, Greyback, you’d better carry on acting loyal to my master, he is paying you after all. If you ain’t loyal to man, you’re at least loyal to the sound of coin.”

“That I am, thank you for that,” said Fenrir slapping Scabior on the back with a loud guffaw, “I know you’ve got ta keep your own council for the most part. But you’re as lusty a fellow as I ever did meet. Per’aps,” the werewolf leaned forward as he picked meat out from between his teeth with grubby fingernails, “you ought to be loyal to your own purse and I may share ‘er with you if you lose your respect for that toff!”

“We’ll see,” Scabior said patting the werewolf on the back, “we’ll see.”

They sat in silence listening the calling of owls, the scurrying of insects below, the thrum of crickets and other noises to be heard in the night. Scabior scratched at his arm as he looked up through the canopy of the trees his thoughts introspective. Greyback gestured and Remus handed him a skein of mead, Scabior quaffed to the argent moon wondering just what was in store for his Master, his partner-in-crime and most of all… himself.

His gypsy blood was calling out the sign of danger, he just hoped they would be safe in the end.

Chapter Text

Hermione’s screams were still echoing through the inner bailey and both Lucius and Severus were hard-pressed not to laugh. ‘Oh, she has fire’ , Severus thought gleefully. He remembered what she was wearing and while the chainmail had done some to conceal her curves, they weren’t all disguised. He just knew she would have a beautifully feminine figure. He felt a stab of lust at the prospect of seeing her nude.

Lucius’s thoughts were very similar to those of Severus’, but he was also making plans. He knew the best time for a druid binding ceremony would be on the first of May. It was Beltane and the height of spring, a most fertile time of year. While he didn’t need another child since he had Draco. He couldn’t help but try to picture Lady Hermione round with either his or Severus’ child. Lucius had always wanted a large family and had thoroughly enjoyed raising Draco until he was seven and sent him as a hostage to become a page.

Lucius began to picture what their potential children would look like. He could see a little girl with Hermione’s amber-hued eyes and his blonde hair or even Severus’ midnight locks. Though neither he nor Severus has seen Hermione cast any magic, he knew that she would be powerful and that power would be transferred to their offspring. However, before he could beget these phantom children and make them a reality, both he and Severus would need to at least win Hermione’s corporation, if not her heart.   

Lucius was jolted from his musings when Severus came up to him and laid a heavy hand on his shoulder, while saying, “Lucius, we need to meet with the craftsmen and have a knights barracks built here in the inner bailey and inspect the fortifications. Wood is a great insulator, but I would feel better to have stone walls to protect our interests. I feel we must also win these peoples trust in order to proceed. There is also the matter of a fitting punishment for our mate. She is by far too willful and it could inspire people to revolt against us. We have much to do and little time to do it.”

“You’re correct, Severus. I feel if we can secure the allegiance of the Master of the Horse and Hermione’s companion, it would go far in allaying the fears of the remaining denizens of our new home. The companion, Lady Luna, might be the easier of the two to get on our side. She feels Beta to me, the same as Master Harry. However, Lady Luna seems much more reasonable.

“As for the fortifications, that would be easy with the use of magic. We just need to find a reliable quarry of stone.” Lucius paused and looked around him the archers and men at arms were still standing in rank and file, but looking a little shifty as if unsure of what they should do. He turned back to Severus and said, “You seem to have an easy command of the soldiers, I’ll leave them to you. I’ll go speak to Lady Luna and Master Harry and see what we can do to smooth any ruffled feathers. What should we do about our mate?”

“I was just thinking about that. I think, for now, we’ll have her barred in her chambers. It’ll likely cause her ire to increase, but she must learn that we are her masters now. Omega, she may be, but she is far too willful. She’s had no firm hand to guide her and I’m looking forward to being one of her guides, aren’t you?” Severus grinned darkly with a lascivious gleam in his eye. “Those breaches she wore left little to the imagination, but I would prefer that we be the only ones to see her charms.”      

“I agree with you on that point, mon amie. I’ll go see her companion and relay to her the punishment of her mistress. I feel that we can be magnanimous enough to allow Hermione to join us for the evening meal, provided she is suitably attired, no?” Lucius said also thinking back to the way Hermione had looked standing up to Severus in the courtyard not long ago. He felt his Alpha side purr at the thought of seeing Hermione dressed as a lady. He also longed to see her hair unbound, for even though it had been plaited, small curls had escaped and had promised to be quite riotous.

“Yes, sounds like a firm plan. I’ll send Gervaise back to the others and inform them of the plans for the foreseeable future. Once the barracks are built our knights will have a place to stay unless they build their own homes in the village. Until this evening.” Severus threw Lucius a jaunty salute and walked over to his squire to relay their plans. Lucius then turned on his heel and made his way into the Great Hall for the first time.

****

Luna sighed as she watched Hermione pace up and down her chamber in just a short linen shift that barely covered her backside. Her now unbound hair sparking with her agitation and her amber eyes glowing with her suppressed power. Luna knew it would do little good to try and placate Hermione when she was in such a state and so just sat and listened as she muttered to herself and paced.

“How could they treat me like this? I’m supposed to be their mate, aren’t they supposed to treat me with respect and gentleness?” Hermione muttered and Luna was quick to suppress a snort of amusement. Hermione was in no way delicate and if anyone tried to treat her as if she was, they’d find themselves on the ground faster than you could say crumple-horned snorkack. Oh yes, that creature did in fact exist, but was so elusive that no one in recent memory had seen one; that is except Luna.  

“I thought Alphas were supposed to revere Omegas? They are prized above all else? At least that’s what all the books in father’s library said. How could they humiliate me? In front of my people, no less? Well, I’ll show them. I’ll transfigure all my gowns into breeches and doublets and see how they like that? I’ll tell Reginald to steal...to steal? What can I ask him to steal? Hmmm…” Hermione continued to pace as she thought about what she could get her pet to steal for her. She knew she could ask him just to throw insults at them, but she thought that might just cause them to harm Reg. No, it was better if he used his cunning and steal things from them. Hermione ignored Luna as she began to call for her attention.

“Hermione… Hermione… HERMIONE!” Luna finally shouted and it shocked Hermione so much that she froze and could only gape at her companion. Luna cleared her throat, stood up from her seat near the window and smoothed out her gown. “You realize that would never work. First off Reginald would never be able to keep his mouth shut and would blab to all and sundry about what he has taken. And would you really want to risk his life for petty revenge? Also, all of your father’s book were written from a Beta point of view. To a Beta, the way an Alpha treats an Omega would seem like reverence but could be something else entirely behind closed doors.

“And as for your humiliation? I feel they went easy on you. They could have stripped you naked out in the bailey for all to see. They could have lashed you to a post and whipped you. They could have done any number of things, but didn’t.” Luna paused and quickly raised her hand when it appeared that Hermione was about to interrupt her. She hid her surprise when Hermione subsided, but continued to pace.

“Hermione, you are my Lady, our mothers were from the same court of fae and were friends, just as we are. I would never knowingly steer you wrong. These men were chosen for you by the Goddess, she who knows what lays in everyone’s hearts. Do you really think she would choose a mate or in your case, mates that would be wrong for you?” Luna asked in an even tone and she saw Hermione’s shoulders slump a little, she knew she had finally gotten through to her.

“But how could they have ordered you to burn my breeches? How am I to ride out and supervise the men at arms at drills and the serfs working the land without my breeches?” Hermione almost whined, finally plopping down on her bed, the glow to her eyes fading.   

“I feel that’ll no longer be your role, milady. Our new lords will be overseeing those things from now on. You no longer have to be pulled in ten different directions. I would think you would feel relieved if nothing else. Now, you can concentrate more on your guardianship duties and not have to worry so much about the everyday running of the Keep and its people.”

Suddenly, the door to Hermione’s chamber banged open and there stood one of her mates, the light-haired one de Malfoy. Hermione jumped up out of her bed and moved over by Luna, not sure if he was a threat or not. He filled the doorway with his presence and Hermione couldn’t help but feel a little thrill as his artic eyes scanned the room before settling on her and Luna. His eyes swept over what he could see of her, from the top of her head down to her bare legs and they blazed with desire. Hermione felt her inner Omega stir and urge her to preen and entice him closer. She fought against her instinct to be closer to the dominating male, she was still angry and seeing him brought that anger back to the forefront of her mind.

“Ah, ladies here you are. Lady Luna I would have words with you later, but I think for now you should leave me with Hermione. There is the matter of her punishment that must be rendered,” Lucius said smoothly and moved further into the room, making it feel smaller. Hermione felt the urge to bare her neck to him and submit and silently screamed at her inner Omega.    

“As you wish, Milord. I shall await you in the solar,” Luna demurred and moved to leave Hermione and Lucius alone. Hermione grasped hold of Luna and prevented her from leaving, “You can’t leave me alone with him! ” Hermione hissed quietly and clutched at her.

“Lady Hermione, you will release Luna at once, go stand by the bed and await further instructions,” Lucius said, the Alpha command in his voice. Hermione reluctantly released her hold on Luna and jerkily made her way back over to her bed. Her body vibrating with anger.

Luna didn’t look back at Hermione as she left the chamber. The door closed behind her with finality and she heard the bolt slide across it and then nothing. Lucius had just cast a silencing ward on the door. She knew that no lasting harm would come to her friend at the hands of her mates, but she was glad to be away all the same. Both Alphas were quite intimidating. She was both envious and afraid for Hermione.    

****

Inside the chamber, the two combatants eyed each other. Hermione with anger and just a little bit of fear. This man, chosen by the Goddess to be one of her mates was still a stranger to her. He’d said that he was going to punish her, but how? She knew he had every right to beat her for her willfulness. But Hermione just couldn’t pretend to be something she wasn’t. Both her Mother and Father had taught her to be strong, for though the Gods had made her an Omega, she wasn’t weak.

Lucius meanwhile took the time to just study to the woman before him. She was small of stature, not more than five and a half feet tall. He stood well over six feet, was lithe with muscle and hardened by battle. Though Wizards had an advantage over Muggles, due to their magic that hadn’t stopped Lucius or Severus from learning the art of swordplay and both were experts at it. Lucius could see the anger roll off of Hermione in waves and it made his gut clench with desire. He had always preferred a woman with spirit.

He moved and sat down in one of the chairs by the hearth, keeping his eye on Hermione standing by the bed. The think linen shift hid nothing from his view, he was sure that Hermione’s unclothed state was the last thing on her mind. And he was reluctant to bring it to her attention. Once settled in the seat he briefly closed his eyes, drew in a deep breath and opened them again.

“Come here, Hermione,” he commanded quietly and waited to see if she would obey as he hadn’t used the Alpha command.

Hermione practically vibrated, her inner Omega wasn’t urging her to follow his command so she stayed put. She ran her hands nervously down her hips and her thighs expecting the feel long skirts, but only felt flesh. She looked down and saw that she only had her shift on and gasped. She whirled around and scrambled up onto her bed and burrowed under the covers. Never once did she think that with her mad dash to cover herself she would flash the only other occupant in the room.

Lucius’ eyes widened minutely when she had spun and the shift flared, exposing her delighted backside and just a hint of her nether lips when she scrambled into her bed. He groaned silently as the image was burned into his retinas and he felt his shaft begin to fill and stiffen.

“Hermione, I said to come here,” Lucius sighed when he saw that she was buried under a mound of furs and blankets.

Her reply was muffled, but he heard it nonetheless, “No!” she said emphatically, “You can’t make me!”

“Now, ma petite renarde*, we both know that is far from the truth,” he waited to see what she would do. When nothing happened he sighed again, “Very well, renarde. If you will not come to me, I’ll go to you. But know this, for every step I take, your punishment will increase two-fold. I estimate there are at least ten paces from this chair to the bed. Do you really want to try my patience?”  Lucius then shifted in his seat as if to get up, but settled back down when Hermione’s head popped up from beneath the covers.

“W-what are you going to do to me?” she asked and winced at the tiny stammer in her voice.

“Nothing that will cause any permanent damage, ma petite renarde. I hear tell from your men at arms that you never back down and here you are cowering under a mound of blankets?” Lucius taunted her lightly, “I’ll give you to the count of ten before I’m forced to come to fetch you… Un... Deux... Trois…” inwardly, Lucius smirked when he heard her scramble out of the covers. He watched as the shift flared and exposed her mons for the briefest of moments, her pubis curls were slightly darker than the hair on her head and he was glad to note that she didn’t use a denuding spell on her nether region.

He liked to know that his potential bed partners were full-grown women and not prepubescent children. Though he did understand why the camp followers tended to denude themselves, less likely to catch or pass on lice. He’d never laid with any of the camp followers, though quite a few tried to entice him. He had just heard the many ribald stories his knights and men at arms boasted of around the campfire.

Finally, Hermione stood before him. She trembled, still unsure of what he had in store for her. Like a striking snake, Lucius grasped hold of her wrist and pressed against the scent gland there. The scent of sage and lavender with a hint of leather filled his nose and he groaned silently, lust pooling in his groin. He brought her wrist up and inhaled deeply, she moaned at the feel of his hot breath on her flesh. She’d never felt anything like this before. It intrigued and frightened her, her anger at her clothes being burned a faint thought in the back of her mind. Her unclaimed mate taking up residence in the forefront, if just one of her mates could reduce her to a pool at his feet. What would both of them do to her? Hermione shuddered at the thought, but from anticipation or abject terror, she wasn’t sure.

Lucius stood up from the chair, his thumb making circles on the scent gland of her wrist. He caught her chin on a crooked finger and raised it up until their eyes met. His silver eyes blazed down at her, “I had every intention of paddling your backside until it blistered. But, now… I think I will just kiss you.” he opened his hand and cupped her chin, his finger pressing against the much larger scent gland in her neck, she melted against him.

She licked her lips, his eyes followed her tongue. Her teeth nibbled at her full lower lip and he ran his thumb over it to release her grip upon the succulent flesh. He slowly began to lower his lips to hers, just about to claim them when there was a loud crash on the other side of the chamber door. There was a shout and the sound of cursing, “Merlin’s hairy left testicle, Lucius! What are you doing in there and why is the door bolted shut?!? Open up at once!” it was Severus on the other side of the door and he was boiling. The ward Lucius had cast upon the door after Luna left was a one way ward. It prevented sound from leaving the room, but not from entering it.

Lucius groaned and reluctantly released Hermione. As soon as he was no longer pressing her scent glands, she yelped and raced back to the bed; burying herself under the covers once again. Lucius then waved his hand, the ward fell and the bolt slid across it, allowing Severus to push the door open.

“Just what in the Goddesses name are you doing in Hermione’s chamber with the door bolted shut and a silencing ward placed to block out any sound from within? I was under the impression you would be speaking to Lady Luna. Where is Hermione?” Severus snarled he couldn’t help but feel the burning of jealousy at the thought of Lucius touching their mate without him.

“I apologize, Severus. Luna was here when I came to find her. She was to await me in the solar, but I’m afraid I became a little distracted. As to the location of our erstwhile mate? See that trembling pile of furs and blankets on the bed? She’s under there. Now that you have robbed me of the opportunity to taste of Hermione’s lips, I shall go in search of Luna and speak with her,” Lucius said with no small amount of anger in his voice at the interruption.

“Too late, Lucius. She went in search of you and found me instead. What do you mean rob you of the taste of Hermione’s lips? You were trying to seduce her, weren’t you? She’s not ready to be claimed yet. We only just met her formally today, for Gods sake!” Severus admonished.

“I only wanted a small taste, Severus. You can’t tell me that if the circumstances were reversed you wouldn’t have done the same!”

“You’re probably right, Lucius. But unlike you, I know how to restrain myself. For you a small taste soon becomes a feast. Don’t try to deny it, I’ve known you far too long and seen too much to fall for your excuses. Hermione must be handled with care, she is not one of the many loose women you like to dally with.”

A petulant voice rang out from the vicinity of the bed, “Hermione is right here and can hear every word you say! I’m not some delicate flower that will faint at the sight of a man’s lust!” she seethed from under the covers. She threw them back and sat up glaring at the two men standing in the middle of her chamber.

“Ah, Lady Hermione. Now that I have your attention, here is your punishment for appearing in front of the Keep in clothing ill suited for your station. From now and until such a time as I see fit, you will be locked within your chamber. Only Lucius or I will be allowed to escort you and that will only be to the Great Hall and back for meals.

“All of your breeches and doublets have been gathered and burned. You are only to wear tunics and gowns that we will provide to you. When I have determined that you have learned your lesson, only then will you be allowed to return to your duties as chatelaine. Your Steward and Master of the horse and Lady Luna will look after the keep in your absence. Is that understood?” Severus finished, not realizing he was pacing as he was giving out his commands. “Now, supper is in about half an hour, I see that you’re still not appropriately attired to attend the meal. We will leave you to dress and I will be back to escort you to the Hall.” Severus then waved Lucius out the door ahead of him, closed the door and bolted it shut. Silently he counted down in his head and then smirked when he heard Hermione’s shriek from within the chamber. Oh, yes she will be so much fun to try and tame.         

Chapter Text

When Severus came to retrieve Hermione for dinner he was surprised and a little suspicious that she didn’t put up a fight. Hermione was dressed in a demure blue velvet gown with a copper girdle around her waist. Her hair was hidden by a lighter colored veil that was held in place by a copper circlet. She looked the perfect picture of the gently bred lady, not too wild hellion he and Lucius had encountered that morning. Maybe she figured her life was changing and that she now had two masters to guide her, to mold and shape her into the proper Omega mate. However he might like to think she had capitulated, if he only knew what was running through her mind it would’ve disabused him of that notion.

Hermione was plotting. She knew it was inevitable that she would mate to these two men, they were her destined mates. But she didn’t have to make it easy for them. She knew that as an Omega she was supposed to be the picture of submission, to allow her every move to be dictated by them as Alphas. She suspected that other Omega’s had never had the opportunity to run a thriving fiefdom on their own, nor have the responsibility of being the guardian of Stonehenge such as she was.

No, she figured she must be secretive, she had spent some years at a new wizarding school up north. She had been chosen by one of the founders of the school when she was just five summers old. She could still remember the day he had come to Grange Keep to take her on as one of his students.

It had been a warm day, not a cloud in sight. Hermione was in the still room helping her mother extract the oils from the first flowers of the season when there was a thunderous crack. Hermione had jumped and looked outside to see if a sudden storm had developed, but the sky was cloudless. Then there was a shout from the bailey and men at arms were rushing by the stillroom. Hermione being curious snuck a peek out of the door.

All of the men at arms were circled around someone or something, Hermione really couldn’t tell as she was quite short. She then noticed the several archers had their arrows nocked and pointed at whoever was being surrounded. They held their aim steady, waiting for this person to make any aggressive move. Then Hermione saw her father come rushing out of the Keep. The men at arms parted as he approached and Hermione saw the person that had caused quite a stir.

It was a man, tall with a shining bald head and a long black beard that fell to his waist. He had pointy eyebrows that should have lent his face a look of constant surprise if it wasn’t for the deep scowl etched on his brow. He wore rich emerald green robes with real silver thread at the cuffs and neck. He also had with him a long nobby walking stick, it looked bone white and at the top was a bright blue stone. The stone glowed as if it had a power all its own and Hermione was enthralled.

Her father stopped before this man and addressed him, “Who might you be, Sir? How did you come to be here without being seen by my men? What is your purpose here?” Hermione’s father stood tall, well over six feet, his hand resting on the hilt of his sword. She didn’t need to look at his face to know that his green eyes would be narrowed and his chin would be jutted out. She had always thought he looked rather silly when he did that. But she dared not laugh now as she could feel the tension in the air.

“My name is Salazar Slytherin, I’m one of the founders of a school of magic located in Scotland. As for how I was able to appear without alerting your guards? Why, I apparated, of course.” his eyes shone momentarily with humour and then became serious once again, “I’m aware that you have a dohtor who had exhibited signs of magic. I’m here to assess and determine if she would make a good student. Though I usually don’t like to deal with Muggles, I’m aware that your mate is fae born and that you don’t discriminate against magical folk as others would, so I’ll make an exception this once. I have been observing your dohtor for weeks now and have determined that she would do well at Hogwarts.” the man said in a quiet voice that still seemed to carry to every corner of the bailey.

Hermione hadn’t known at the time that he’d used a Sonorous spell so that he would be heard. She just stood in awe of the man that exuded such raw power. She’d crept out of the stillroom, her mother too had seemed spellbound and didn’t notice until Hermione was even with the first line of men at arms still surrounding the wizard now known as Salazar Slytherin. By then it was too late to draw her back.

Salazar seemed to sense she was near and smiled warmly. It transformed his face from scary to almost beautiful and Hermione was drawn to him. She didn’t realize she was so close until she felt her father’s heavy hand land on her shoulder. She startled and looked up at him. She couldn’t tell if he was angry or not, but she could sense that he was trying to protect her.

“Ah, here is the little one now,” Salazar said and looked down at her.

“Just what do you want with my dohtor, wizard? You say you have a school to teach my dohtor magic? Why should I allow her to go away for I don’t know how long? My mate, as you say is fae born, why should she not teach Hermione to use her magic? Isn’t it the same?” Aethelwine of Grange Keep said and pulled Hermione closer to him.

“I mean no insult to your mate, milord. Even though your dohtor would no doubt benefit from her teachings, I and my fellow founders would be able to teach your dohtor to cast and create spells. To help her access and channel the full potential of her magic. If I’m not mistaken, those of fae blood draw magic from the elements themselves, but usually can only focus on one element at a time and usually only has a strong bond with one element. I have seen your dohtor display such raw power than most magical folk twice her age couldn’t touch. She must learn how to focus her power. She would learn how to draw power from all of the elements and bend them to her will.

“As I said, I have observed her for several weeks now and if she doesn't learn how to channel her magic properly, it could run wild and possibly hurt or kill someone. Never have I seen such a display as the one about a sennight past when she was swept into the river while gathering herbs with her mother. The water formed a wave and gently deposited her back on the bank and her eyes glowed with the power it took. However, that same wave that saved her also caused the bank to overflow almost sweeping a unicorn away in the current. If she had better control that wouldn’t have happened. She has great natural talent, if she should go to school, it would only be enhanced. I mean her no harm and would take her under my wing. She would be protected and learn with other talented children such as her.” Salazar looked down at Hermione and saw her eyes swell with tears as she remembered the day he just described.

Hermione looked up at her father and tugged at his tunic hem. Aethelwine looked down at her and asked, “Aye, youngling? What do you want?”

“Faedor , I want to go to school, like this man said. I remember the day he described. Modor had such a time trying to console me after I almost caused a unicorn to drown. Please, Faedor?” Hermione pleaded with her father, her amber eyes liquid with suppressed tears of the traumatic memory.  

Aethelwine, not being able to resist his daughter when she gave him that look knelt down to her, looked into her eyes and sighed, “Are you sure this is what you want, dohtor? You’ll be many miles away from your modor and I. I’ll not be able to protect you, Sweeting and you could run into all sorts of trouble.” he paused almost hoping she would change her mind, but knew it was a lost cause when her face turned muleish and her eyes began to glow with her magic. He closed his eyes, as if pained and said, “Very well, Hermione. If you want to go with this wizard to learn your magic, I’ll allow you to go. But if you should find that you want to come home for any reason, don’t hesitate to contact us and it will be arranged.” Aethelwine almost fell backwards when Hermione threw herself into his arms.

“Oh, thank you Faedor! Thank you!” she said as she planted a large sloppy kiss on his cheek, the only kind that only a five year old could bestow.

Hermione was suddenly wrenched from her recollections by the feel of a hand wrapped around her elbow. She looked up into the obsidian eyes of Severus de Prinz and reality came crashing down. He was one of her mates and she was angry at him. Her eyes began to glow as her magic rose up within her.

Severus paused in the middle of the stairs leading to the Great Hall and was spellbound by the sight of her eyes glowing. He felt heat build up in his head and run down his spine to pool in his groin. She was absolutely gorgeous and he wanted her. His grip tightened on her elbow and he began to draw her closer to him.

Hermione allowed him to pull her close for she could smell him and she felt something she had never felt before. Her belly warmed and it felt as if her womb clenched. She took in his scent, she could smell wood smoke, freshly tilled soil and sage. It clouded her mind and made her blood warm even more. He seemed to be taking in her scent as well, but his eyes were focused on hers. The glow hadn’t dimmed at all, in fact it had intensified and she could feel him stir against her.

Severus reached up and pressed on the scent gland in her neck and she went limp, he growled low in his throat and hauled her even closer to him. He lowered his head and sniffed at her scent gland, before swiping it with his tongue. Hermione gasped as she felt a throbbing begin in her core. It was something she had never felt before, she had felt something similar when Lucius had her in his arms, but they had been interrupted before he could do anything more than sniff her.

Severus quickly backed her up against the wall of the stairs and began to rain nipping little kisses down her throat. She gasped and mewled, the intense feeling so new that she really didn’t know how to react. Her eyes fluttered closed, but the damage was done.

Severus felt like he was a little out of himself, this tiny woman in his arms was making him forget everything. He ran his lips further up her neck and along her jawline. He then hovered over her plump lips, the bottom lip caught in her teeth and he quickly sucked that abused piece of flesh into his mouth. He ran his tongue over her bottom lip, trying to encourage her to open so that he could have a proper taste.

He stopped kissing her and whispered heatedly, “Open for me, Hermione, my own. I wish to taste of your mouth. I claim your first kiss as mine. It's only a matter of time before I taste of the other delights of your body.” then he slanted his mouth over hers and forced her mouth to open. His tongue slipped inside and played with her own. He caressed the roof of her mouth and licked at her molars. Hermione felt like he was trying to devour her from the mouth down. And she would’ve been happy to let him if he hadn’t said what he said next.

“I’m pleased that you did as I bid you to do and dress as a lady of your stature should. I knew seeing you dressed as a woman would be preferable to male attire. You’re mine to do with as I please and I’ll not have my mate prance around in such an undignified manner. Only Lucius or I will ever see your charms so blatantly displayed.”

Hermione felt all the anger from before surge back into her soul. That’s right, this was the man who had all of her practical clothing burned. Because he thought it unseemly. She stiffened, but Severus didn’t seem to notice as he went back to kissing her throat. He then nudged one of his legs between hers and tried to encourage her to grind against his thigh.

Hermione went limp and as if to entice him, moaned in his ear. He surged back up and devoured her lips. Her eyes opened into slits and saw that his were closed. A wicked idea formed in her head and before she could think it through, she sucked in his bottom lip and bit down, hard. She then pushed at his chest with all her might and raised the leg that was between his and kneed him in the groin.

Severus doubled over with the sudden pain, clutched at his jewels and fell to his knees before her. He howled with pain and tried to grab hold of Hermione. He’d never thought she would try to injure him like this. It was then he heard what she was saying,

“You may be one of my Goddess chosen mates, but that doesn’t make me an object you can toy with at your leisure. I have my own mind and I’m still angry that you burned my clothes. You may be Alpha and I an Omega, but that in no way makes me your slave.” with that, she whirled on her heel and sprinted back up the stairs and he heard the slam of her chamber door. He just knew she would have warded it from the inside, and was only slightly grateful that she did. For if he was able to access her right at this moment, he didn’t think he would be able to stop from hurting her.

He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Lucius’ laughing eyes. He hadn’t seen the blow that laid Severus low, but the way he was hunched over he could rightly guess what she’d done. He couldn’t help but add salt to the wound when he said, “I take it our mate isn’t hungry?”

Severus growled low in this throat and stood up gingerly. He then shot a withering look at his friend and limped down the remaining stairs to the Great Hall. While being followed by a laughing Lucius.         

Chapter Text

That evening, after listening to Severus and Lucius both take turns trying to cajole and then demand that she let them in her chamber, it was a very near thing when both had tried to use the Alpha command. But for some reason, her Inner Omega hadn’t stirred and she spent several moments pondering it. Maybe the reverb didn’t have as much power with a thick slab of oak between the Alpha and Omega as it would if they were in the same room? Or it could be just her desire to ignore both of the males in her home. She really didn’t know.

However, after what seemed like hours, both Lucius and Severus had given up and sought their own beds, she had finally been able to relax and fall asleep. Frankly, she’d been surprised that neither one had blasted her door in. She’d like to think that it was her wards that prevented it, but it was more likely that they just didn’t want to destroy the door.

Almost immediately upon falling asleep, she began to dream. She was in a meadow near a babbling brook. A doe and her fawn were nibbling on clover to her right and she felt at peace. A gentle breeze combed through her hair and she sighed. She knew that the men residing in her home were chosen for her by the Goddess, but why did they have to be so… so… Male?!?

It was their way or no way, especially it seemed with Severus. Lucius seemed to be the more carefree and spontaneous of the two, he was always laughing or had a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. Severus was dark and broody, and if she wanted to be honest with herself, she felt drawn to him on a more profound level. She didn’t know who was older, but if she were to guess, it would be Severus with his dominating, set in stone ways. Not that she really knew what his way was, at least not entirely.

She was drawn to Lucius as well, she felt that their bond would be full of teasing and fun. While with Severus it would be heavily sensual and overwhelming. Maybe their outward appearance really did mirror their inner selves? Hermione was curious about both of them. However, she was determined that even though she was an Omega she would be equal to both her mates.

Hermione continued to contemplate while watching the water in the brook wash over the stones. She wondered if she could be the stone and allow Severus and Lucius to wash over her? Would she stand firm or allow them to wash bits of her away until she was completely destroyed? Her ears picked up the sound of a footfall and she stiffened. It was rare that she would dream of other beings and she looked to see who it could be. Her eyes widened in recognition, it was the Goddess Danu. Her guide and the one who had given her the task to guard Stonehenge.

Hermione immediately got to her knees and prostrated herself before the deity. Danu appeared as she always did when visiting Hermione. Her red-gold hair flowed down her back to her ankles, and she wore diaphanous robes and both concealed and displayed her body. Hermione didn’t need to look in her eyes to know that they were three rings of color, a dark forest green followed by a swirling teal-blue and finally gold surrounding the pupil. It was the gold of Danu’s eyes that Hermione’s resembled the most, especially when casting a spell. It was also the color that drew her in the most and spell-bound her.

“Be calm, child. No need to prostrate yourself so. I have just come to pass along a request,” Danu said in a light and airy tone and Hermione felt tension she didn’t know she had drain away. “Now that you have met your destined mates, you must go to seek your Grandmother Isolde of the Unseelie. For it is time to know your purpose as guardian.”

“Please forgive any impertinence, Goddess. But why now? I don’t look to question your choice of mates for me, but how am I to allow these two men into my life and heart and not fear that they will try to consume me whole?” Hermione quickly lowered her eyes so as not to challenge the deity before her. She was startled when she felt a cool gentle hand cup her chin and raise her eyes to meet the Goddesses.

“There is no impertinence, and I have witnessed your interactions with both of your mates this day. They will not consume you but will act as an anchor to your power. It may seem overwhelming at times, but have faith that I wouldn’t misguide you. I cannot go into detail as to what your task will be, Isolde will provide you with all you need to know,” Danu smiled gently down and Hermione and she felt her spirit lift as it always did. But then felt a frisson of dread when Danu’s eyes turned somber, “I must warn you, child, that there are forces not far from you that would use you to gain what is not theirs. Do not under any circumstances find yourself in the wood alone. A beast and his masters prowl about.”

“Yes, Goddess. I understand I shall not wander. But I must ask how will I make my way to Grandmothers?” Hermione asked.

“You’ll find your people and mates in an unnaturally deep sleep. I’ve cleared your path from your home to that of the fae court. Make haste for come the dawn my power will fade and you’ll not be able to get away. There’s no need for you to pack, everything will be provided by your Grandmother. Now, stand and I shall bestow a kiss to your brow and you shall pass all unmolested,” Danu said and guided Hermione to her feet. She then felt the gentle press of lips on her forehead and could only describe what she felt as a cloak settle over her.

“What of my mates? Won’t they try to follow, once they know I’ve gone?” Hermione couldn’t help but ask.

“No, child. Your companion, Luna will inform them of your whereabouts. They’ll not be able to follow you to the fae court. Now, you must awake and be gone, for you have much to learn. Take heed of my warning and all will be well. Fare thee well, my child,” Danu said and in a blink of the eyes Hermione found herself awake and sitting up in her bed. She looked down when the moonlight caused a shimmer to dance before her eyes. Hermione was wearing a silver cloak that felt like water as she touched it and she smiled.

Hermione then noted the position of the moon and knew she only had a few short hours until dawn. Quickly she threw back her bed covers and was about to pack a bag when the Goddess’ words came back to her. There was no need for her to pack and so she took one more brief look around her chamber, noting Regenald curled up on her pillow. He didn’t stir, Hermione felt the urge to poke him to see what would happen, but thought better of it and quietly made her way to her barred door.     

She slid the bolt from the door and slowly pulled it open. The corridor was dark and with only moonlight to guide her, she didn’t see the body stretched across the threshold until she almost tripped over him. Hermione quickly stifled a screech and looked down. She couldn’t make out any features until a beam of moonlight illuminated the sleeping face of Severus.

He was sprawled out on a thin pallet of blankets, in his hand was his wand and it would twitch every so often as if he were casting a spell. He was also murmuring in his sleep. Hermione was so very tempted to stay to try and figure out what he was saying or play a prank on him. But then she looked at the position of the moon again and knew she must leave. But before she did she cast the strongest sticking charm she could think of, just in case he should wake before dawn.

She then crept down the stairs and out of a small side door off the Great Hall. She could see guards walking the parapet, but they took no notice of her. She entered the stable and went to the stall that housed her palfrey, Sunfire. The horse was a beautiful dun color with a white star on her forehead. Sunfire had been the last gift she’d received from her parents before their deaths and she treasured her.

Hermione grabbed the bridle and reins and lead Sunfire from the cozy stable. She chose not to use a saddle as it would take too much time. As soon as she was mounted, whatever gift the Goddess had bestowed upon her encompassed Sunfire as well and they rode out of the Keep without a call of alarm sounding behind them.

She turned southward toward Badger Forest. It was an ancient land where the fae would spend the long winter months whiling away the days until spring. It was also a place that could be dangerous to those unfamiliar with its confusing trails and magical beasts. Hermione knew that she would be able to pass unmolested, not only was she fae, but she had the blessing of the Goddess.

She traveled for hours it seemed until in the very center of the forest she spotted a mound. To most beings, it would appear as any normal mound of earth, but to the fae, it was the entrance to another world. She dismounted when she was still fifty yards away from the mound. To approach such sacred land on anything other than your own two feet was looked on as an insult.

When she was within twenty feet of the mound it began to shift and a door formed. from inside two beings stepped out into the early dawn light. Isolde the Fair stood regally, her dark golden hair falling to her ankles in a waterfall of waves. Hermione didn’t need to look in her eyes to know that they mirrored her own, with one slight difference. Isolde’s had three distinct circles of color, dark, medium and light amber.

Hermione went to her knees before her Grandmother, for she was an elder and deserved much respect. The other being that stood beside Isolde was Rhys, her lover. He wasn’t Hermione’s Grandfather. No, Hermione’s Grandfather had been a human who had found his way to the mound several hundred years before and Isolde had taken him in, they became lovers and she had borne Hermione’s Mother.

Now, because Hermione’s Grandfather was human and having lived in the fairy mounds for several years, where time virtually stopped. He couldn’t leave without the risk of time speeding up and killing him. He could leave for short periods, as long as Isolde was there with him. But, he had grown restless and had left one day saying he missed the feeling of the sun on his face, without Isolde with him. He hadn’t gotten more than a hundred yards away when all of the time that had stopped for him while in the mound caught up with him and he was unable to make it back before he perished. Isolde had mourned her human mate but eventually found a new love in Rhys.     

Rhys was as different from Isolde as night from day. To look at him, you’d think he would be cold, as he was a study of blue and grey. His hair was a blinding white and darkened to grey at his ankles. His skin so pale as to almost look blue and his eyes were a solid pale grey that would darken to the color of storm clouds when angry. Most would never know that he was the cause of most of the mischief within the courts and he banked upon that.

“Grandmother, Rhys greetings to you. I have come to seek your wisdom, Grandmother. The Goddess…” Hermione began but was interrupted by Isolde.

“I know why you are here, Granddaughter. I have been aware this day would come for many months now, ever since the foreigners landed upon these shores. I have much to show you,” Isolde said in a quiet commanding voice. She didn’t say anything else and Hermione couldn’t raise up to her feet until given permission from her elder.

The clearing around the mound seemed to freeze, no bird song heard, or breeze felt. Hermione had to fight not to fidget as time stretched with no other word from her Grandmother.

“Oh for Goddesses sake, child! Stand and come greet your Grandmother properly! You know I care little for these archaic gestures. But I had to see if my lessons had stayed with you as it has been some time since you’ve been to the mound,” Isolde finally exclaimed and Hermione looked up and grinned at her Grandmother, jumped to her feet and rushed into her embrace.

Isolde enfolded Hermione into her arms and laid a kiss to both her cheeks. She then stepped back and studied her Granddaughter with a critical eye, “My, my, my, Hermione you have grown into a beautiful young woman. You look so much like your mother, but I see the strength of your father in you as well. Look at her, Rhys. Does she not look just like Aislynn?”

Rhys stepped up to Isolde and made a great show of studying Hermione and she fought not to stick her tongue out at him. Finally, he looked in her eyes and with a solemn look said, “Yes, Isolde. She does very much resemble her mother, except for… now where was it again…” he paused and with a cheeky wink, grasped her chin and continued, “All except here, her chin is much too stubborn to resemble Aislynn. Must have gotten that from her mule of a father,” he then danced away laughing when Hermione tried to make a swipe at him.  

“Oh, ignore him, Mia. He’s been in one of his teasing moods for months now. Queen Maab has actually forbidden him access to the throne room because of his tricks. But come, you have traveled far and must be tired. You shall rest for we have much to discuss,” Isolde said grasping Hermione by the shoulders and guiding her into the mound. She shared a significant look with Rhys and they both scanned the tree line for the source of the malevolent air drifting through the clearing. Seeing nothing they turned as one and followed Hermione inside, not seeing the glowing yellow eyes of a wolf as it turned and loped away.

Chapter Text

Warm lips trailed down his throat, nipping at his adam’s apple and then proceeded down to his collar bone. Severus groaned in pleasure as those lips then nipped and licked back up his neck, pausing to suck strongly right below his left ear. He was sure he would have a mark there, and couldn’t care less, it was one of his weak spots and it just melted his spine into goo.

It was then that he noticed small hands smooth down the center of his chest, curious fingers swirled in his chest hair then pinched at his nipples. Severus growled and tried to open his eyes, but found he couldn’t, the little minx had blindfolded him. He knew who was exploring his body. It seemed his little Omega was curious but too shy to be seen. So he just relaxed and let her do what she would to him.

Those questing fingers smoothed down his chest, following the trail of hair that disappeared into his breeches. But then they veered away from the place he wanted to feel them and thrust his hips up in the air as a silent command for her to continue to explore him. He frowned when her hands didn’t return, but then smirked at the feel of her lips coming back to explore his face.

He felt her lips ghost over his and he tried to capture them in a kiss, she managed to evade him. Then her lips moved over to his ear and began to nibble on the right before moving to the left. Her lips then brushed over his right cheek he swore he could hear her giggle before she laid a teasing kiss to the tip of his nose.

Severus couldn’t stop the smile that flitted across his lips. She continued to drop little teasing kisses to his nose, interspersed with a giggle here and there. Severus was wondering if she would move on to explore other parts of him when he felt her lips settle one last time on his nose and stay there. He was about to reach up and remove the blindfold to ask her what she was up to when he felt her open her mouth and bite down hard on the tip of his nose.

Severus’ eyes sprang open with a yell and a curse and instead of warm amber eyes, he saw the beady little black ones on of the overgrown weasel of a Jarvey sitting on his chest and glaring at him with his mouth still clamped to Severus’ nose.

“About bleedin’ time you woke up, you ponderous rakefire! You’re lucky it was only your nose that I bit. It could have been much more tender bits of your person, you raggabrash fopdoodle!” Reginald said still perched on Severus’ chest after letting go of his nose.

“Get off of me, you oversized rat! What the hell is the meaning of this? Why did you bite me?” Severus growled and tried to get up off the floor, only to find that he couldn’t. Somehow he was stuck to the floor, “Why can’t I get up? Will someone tell me what in Merlin’s name is going on here?!?” Severus continued to try and peel himself off of the floor but found he was stuck tight. He flopped back down after straining hard to at least lift his head.

To make matters worse, he then heard the sound of footsteps approaching. They paused and Severus heard what sounded suspiciously like a snort, he tipped his head up the best he could to see who it could be and groaned internally. Staring at him was Lucius, who tried in vain to stop the grin from growing on his face, beside him was Lady Luna and Harry, the Master of the Horse.

Luna looked down at Severus with a serene look on her face, while Harry was gaping like a fish. His green eyes wide as he looked at Severus seemingly stuck to the floor with a bright red nose that sported distinct tooth marks and Reginald sitting proudly on his chest. Lucius walked over and examined Severus as if he would find the answers to the universe in this situation. Severus just glowered.

“Now, Severus. You can’t expect to make me believe that after all the battles we’ve fought and jousts we’ve won, that you’ve met your match with a Jarvey that weighs no more than the pommel of your sword. I do have to say though, red really isn’t your color. Would you like me to take care of that bite at the end of your nose?   

“Fuck off, Lucius. I was fast asleep when this overgrown rodent attacked me. He bit me on the nose and woke me up. Now, I find myself unable to get up, I think someone cast a sticking charm on the floor beneath me, one guess on who it might have been. Could you lift it? I can’t move my arms to get at my wand,” Severus huffed, but as he laid there, couldn’t quite fight the grin that stole across his lips. If it had been Lucius in his place, Severus would have teased and tormented him, just as much as Lucius was doing to him right now.

“Oh, all right. Severus, you’re no fun in the mornings,” Lucius sighed and with a whispered Finite Incantatem, Severus was able to sit up. He pushed the Jarvey away and scowled at the creature, but it didn’t do any good. Reg stood on his hind legs and grasped Severus by his doublet, trying to shake him, “Would one of you measly bespawling dalcops listen to me!? The reason for the rude awakening was because,” he drew a deep breath and shouted, “Mia’s missing!”

All sound stopped at this announcement, before both Lucius and Severus roared, “WHAT?!” Severus sprang to his feet and charged into Hermione’s room, half expecting to see her curled up in bed. But no, she wasn’t there. The only sign of her was a long curling strand of hair on her pillow. Severus began tearing the bed apart thinking she might have been playing another trick on him. That was one of the reasons he had slept outside her door, was to catch her before anyone else could. He wanted to try and start over with her, he knew that he had put his foot in it when she had knee’d him after he kissed her the previous night. But she had looked so deliciously feminine in her gown that he couldn’t resist. And now she was gone, but where?

Meanwhile Luna and Harry stood in the doorway watching the two Alphas tear apart Hermione’s bed chamber. Harry looked at Luna and saw the amused smile on her face. He grasped her hand to bring her attention to him, “You know where she is don’t you?” Harry whispered afraid of bringing attention to himself. He may be a Beta, and would do as ordered by an Alpha, but he didn’t want to be a dead Beta, if he should give them bad news.

“Yes, my love. I know where Lady Hermione is. I’m just giving them a chance to calm down a little before I tell them. You may want to make yourself scarce, for I know they won’t kill me. I cannot vouch for you, and I rather like it when you kiss me. I would miss it if you were dead,” Luna said in a breezy tone of voice.

Harry grinned and brushed a kiss on her forehead, “I do have the horses to see to. It’s about time for their morning feed. But stay safe, I too would miss your kisses,” he then turned and made his way down the stairs and out to the stable yard.

After Harry had left, Reginald climbed up Luna’s gown and perched on her shoulder. He was snickering as he watched the two men throw pillows and bedding everywhere, did they expect to find her hiding under the bed or between two sheets? He then raised his paw up to his mouth and let out a piercing whistle. Severus and Lucius stopped what they were doing and looked over to the door, “If you two are done being idiots, Luna has something to tell you about Mia. So shut it and put everything back the way you found it, or else!”

Severus and Lucius just looked at each other and then the bedding in their hands. They unceremoniously dropped everything to the floor and rushed over to Luna. Both began talking at once.

“Tell us at once,”

“Where Hermione,”

“Is. And you won’t be punished.”

“Well it was worth a try,” Reg said as he looked at the mess still in the bed chamber.

“Shut it, you talking rat, or I’ll have the cook spit roast you and then feed you to the dogs,” Severus growled still smarting from the bite to his nose. Reg just stuck his tongue out and before Severus could retaliate, launched himself off Luna’s shoulder and scampered down the corridor, laughing all the way.

“I’ll tell you exactly where Lady Hermione is, but I must warn you. You won’t be able to fetch her until it is time,” Luna said as she brushed passed the two mean and with a wave of her hand restored the bedchamber to it’s previous immaculate state.

“Lady Luna, please tell us where Hermione is. Once we have that information, we can then decide if we’ll be able to retrieve her or not,” Lucius tried to cajole the blonde woman by grasping her hand in his and laying a kiss to her knuckles. Severus just stood and glowered.

Luna gently withdrew her hand from Lucius’ and shook her head, “You won’t be able to get to her. She’s with her Grandmother, Isolde the Fair of the Unseelie Fae. No one can access the fairy mound unless invited or unless they have fae blood.”

“But you have fae blood, if I remember correctly,” Lucius said. “Can’t you get us an invitation?”

Again, Luna shook her head, “My blood is fae, that’s true. But I’m of the Seelie court. They are two separate entities. Hermione’s and my mother were friends, but only because they were educated by the same fae scribe who would travel between the courts. Come, let us break our fast and I’ll tell you why you won’t be able to retrieve Hermione,” without another word, Luna sailed out of the bedchamber and made her way to the Great Hall. Severus and Lucius were left looking after her and then at each other, shrugged and followed after her.

When Severus and Lucius arrived in the Great Hall, they found Luna with a trencher of cooked oats and she was adding honey and what looked like dried berries and cream to it. Beside her were two other trenchers with just the cooked oats in them. Both men grimaced at the lumpy mess but sat down and began to doctor their morning repast.

“Is this all there is to eat this morning? Where’s the bacon and quail and fish we had last night?” Severus asked as he tentatively took his first bite. His eyes widened at the pleasant taste and began to devour the contents of the trencher. Lucius was slow to follow, but soon he too was eating hungrily.

“The leftovers from our evening meals are sent to the village priest to give to the poor and sick. Most of the gentry usually doesn't think of those below them. But they fail to realize that their lands are only prosperous due to the wellbeing of their serfs. Hermione’s mother started this tradition and it has remained so to this day,” Luna said after taking a drink from her goblet. “Besides, you’ll find a meal of cooked oats will give you more lasting energy.”  

Both men nodded, the donated food was a good and charitable thing to do and didn’t see any reason to stop it. But, they weren’t entirely sure about the energy benefits of such a spartan morning meal. Once they had eaten their fill, Severus turned to Luna and asked, “Now, explain to us why we cannot go to retrieve our mate?”

“The Goddess Danu came to both mine and Hermione’s dreams last night. I don’t know what she dreamed of, for that is between her and the Goddess. What Danu did say was that Hermione would be going to her mother’s mother to learn more about her destiny as herself and as your mate. I don’t know how much you know of Hermione and I don’t know if you’ve really had a chance to ask her. So, I’ll try to explain as best as I can,” Luna paused and looked at the two Alphas. When neither said anything, she continued.

“Hermione wasn’t just born to be your destined mate and bear you pups. She was born with a much greater purpose. She is the last of a long line of Druid guardians, that guard and protect the ancient stone circle known as Stonehenge. It’s said that a great and terrible power rests beneath Stonehenge. The guardian is supposed to be able to tap into that power in times of need, but to also make sure that it doesn't awaken fully and run rampant over the land.

Hermione is the only one that would be able to take someone, anyone really and change their designation. She can change an Alpha to a Beta or change a Beta to  either an Omega or an Alpha; depending on what was needed. To do this she would need to be able to tap into the power of the circle, but she can’t do it alone. She would need to be grounded, that is where you two gentlemen come in. You’re her ground. You three would form a triangle and she would be able to channel the power of the circle with ease,” Luna paused and took another drink of her goblet.

“Does the guardian always have two mates?” Lucius asked.

Luna shook her head, “No, Hermione’s mother was the guardian before Hermione and she only had Aethelwine as a mate. The histories aren’t clear, but the last time a guardian had two mates was about a thousand years ago. It was never written or it was lost to time what the true purpose was. Hermione is with her Grandmother to find that out. You must allow her to do her duty, for to prevent it would call the wrath of the Gods down upon us.”

“Fine, are you sure we won’t be able to get into the fae mound?” Severus just had to ask one more time. The guilt he was feeling at how he’d treated Hermione was starting to eat at him. He needed to be able to start again and couldn’t help but feel that her running away wasn’t all due to this mission given to her by the Goddess Danu. He wondered if she would have told him of her task if he hadn’t been so domineering. It had all started with her choice of clothing and just went downhill from there.

He then got a flash on inspiration. Maybe he would earn some points back if he had her breeches and doubletes remade? He could present them to her as a mating gift. Though he was loathe to allow other men to see her charms displayed in such scandalous clothing, he figured that the people of Grange Keep were used to her appearance and wouldn’t bat an eyelash. It was just something he would need to get used to. Severus brought his attention back to the tale Luna was giving of her dream.

“The Goddess did warn me of three men that could pose a threat to your and Lady Hermione’s futures. She gave me their names, I don’t know if they have any meaning to you or not. One goes by the name of Rabastan Lastrange, he seems to be the most dangerous. The next is Scabior, I didn’t get a first name. He seems subordinate to Lastrange, he is grey next to Lastrange’s black. Finally, there is Greyback, he appeared to me as a beast, half man and half wolf. His loyalties are bought by gold and nothing else,” Luna paused when Lucius made a scoffing sound in his throat. She lifted her eyebrows in inquiry and Lucius said,

“Rabastan Lastrange is a Norman that came with us over the channel, he and his brother are loyal to the King. Besides, he’s a Beta. His brother Rudolphus was killed at Hastings and he was an Alpha. While Rabastan is a knight, he is foremost a coward, his brother was forever saving his hide. He was only made a knight due to the donation to King William’s war chest,” Lucius said dismissively. “Can you tell us more about Hermione’s duty as the guardian of Stonehenge?”

“I’m afraid I cannot. It is for Lady Hermione to address those questions. But I do know one thing, to occupy yourselves while you await her return you can begin work on making Grange Keep your home,” Luna said looking at both Lucius and Severus with a definite twinkle in her eyes. Neither noticed as she wiggled her fingers under the table.

Both men then had the strangest feeling come over them. Severus’ mind became occupied with plans to build the soldiers barracks and Lucius couldn’t think of anything else but to find a stone quarry near by in order to begin to fortify the wall and the Keep itself. Both men stood up and began to speak at the same time.

“Yes, you’re quite right. We have much to do and little time in which to do it in. Come with me Lucius. We need to begin plans for the barracks,” Severus said, he didn’t wait for Lucius to follow after him as he walked out of the Hall muttering to himself.

“Yes, yes. Of course. I must scout the area for good stone. Please excuse me Luna.” Lucius said and bowed to her, before following after Severus.

Luna sat back and smiled a mischievous smile, mentally dusting her hands. That should keep those two busy for a while.

***

Several miles away a rumbling sound could be felt coming from the center of Stonehenge. Of course, there was no human close by to hear it, but the animals that did, scattered; running away in fear. The rumbling increased until one of the plinths of the outer circle rolled and crashed to the ground. Small cracks formed in the earth and an effervescent mist began to rise up. The alter in the center of the circle began to glow dimly and then it faded, something was stirring. Whether that something was good or evil was unknown.

Chapter Text

Usually, only the magically perceptive could see the fairy mound where ordinary folk would just see uninterrupted dense forest scenery. However, for the past day or so even the near-blind would have known something was amongst the trees, something that was more liable to eat you than anything else. Greyback and his wolves were dotted around what appeared to be a large mound of earth in the middle of a clearing. They had lead Rabastan Lestrange and his contingent of men to this mound. It was the place that the fae witch was last seen, the one that Lestrange was after.

A solitary scruffy looking man could be spotted pacing around the mound in circles, almost like a wolf. To the casual observer, he seemed to be checking on various things around the mound, except for the pinched look on his face, most would assume he was just exploring.  Frustrated the man kicked at a clod of horse manure. The sky above was steel grey and the odd cloud seemed almost black and threatened rain.

Another man walked up and joined the pacing man and glanced up around the grassy hill, “So,” he said, “Greyback, you lead us around this dark and damp country commenting every few minutes that you have her scent and this is where we end up. Where is she?”

“So,” the werewolf growled. “I never claimed to be perfect. This is where she is -I saw her being lead into this mound by two other people, I can only assume they were fae. The door just seemed to form within the mound and when they were inside it melted back into non-existence. What do you want to do?”

“It’s just a bloody mound, Greyback. Your wolves should be able to dig deep enough to find the entrance.”

“And if that doesn’t work? What do you expect me to do then?”

“I don’t know,” Scabior stepped closer and eyed him with his piercing icy gaze, “but you’re being paid to figure it out. Start digging?”

“I still ain’t sure this girl is worth all the effort.”

“You’re getting paid ain’t ya!” Scabior shouted at the stubborn werewolf.

Pinching the bridge of his nose, Scabior took a few deep calming breaths. His master was not a patient man. Looking skyward, Scabior prayed silently to the Gods, as if hoping for some divine sense to be ladled on his friend. There just had to be a way into the fairy mound.

“Report back by evening. Master Lestrange has his heart set on changing and you had best provide an answer, either way.”

With that Scabior left Greyback to brood and find his way into the Kingdom of the Fae. Night soon fell and Greyback growled as he knew what was going to happen when he gave his report. He’d had his wolves begin to dig at the base of the mound. They’d seemed to make good progress until they’d had a tunnel about six feet into the mound. They then seemed to strike some kind of barrier and then the tunnel collapsed; almost suffocating Remus under a ton of dirt and rock.

Greyback growled to himself, he didn’t want to have to report his failure to Lestrange, the werewolf wouldn’t go as far as to say he was scared of Rabastan. No, he didn’t want to risk having his coin reduced. Greyback was foremost a mercenary, anyone that paid him enough had his loyalty as long as the gold held out.  

Fenrir was standing outside of the ostentatious tent set up in a clearing about a mile from the mound waiting to be called in to make his report.

There was just something about Lestrange that Greyback didn’t like. Rabastan was the type to smile to your face while stabbing you in the back and he would go into apoplectic fits of rage when things didn’t go his way.

“Greyback,” Rabastan yelled from inside the tent, “you blithering idiot keeping me waiting, get in here and report!”

“Master Lestrange says you can come in,” Scabior opened the flap, Fenrir had to fight to not roll his eyes. Scabior looked into Fenrir’s eye and knew that his news wasn’t what his Master wanted to hear. He grabbed Greyback’s bicep and leaned in so that he could whisper in his ear, “he isn’t in a forgiving mood right now. You’d better have some good news or who knows what he’d be likely to do.”

Scabior then proceeded to push the reluctant werewolf into the tent. Before Greyback could compose himself the beta wizard turned around and confronted the Alpha Werewolf with more bravery than intelligence, in Rabastan’s mind he was an Alpha one much more powerful and cunning than the beast of man before him. The only thing that stopped Greyback from attacking the smaller man at the perceived threat was the thought of not being paid.

Fenrir straightened his spine as he studied his employer. Rabastan was sat on a fur-covered chair that could have been mistaken for a throne as Scabior poured him out some wine, he really did think highly of himself. A calculating smile flitted across his face, but no warmth was reflected in his eyes as he gestured for Greyback to come closer. No offer of libation was put forth as Rabastan wasn’t feeling all that generous at the moment. The wizard was calmly assessing the brute pacing before him, “Good news I trust?”

The look Greyback offered him was one of nervous frustrations, “I can only say that the Fae have powers beyond our own,” Fenrir began hesitantly, “she’s definitely there, she smells soft and sweet, but the entranceway is barred to us. I think I…” he paused as he saw the look on Rabastan’s face darkened in anger.

“You what? Spit it out, man!”

“I may have forgotten one tiny thing,” Greyback mumbled.

“Just what is that?”

“That one has to be invited in by the fae for the entrance of the courts to appear,” Greyback said and looked Lestrange in the eye, not backing down.

The effect was immediate Rabastan was up on his feet instantly charging towards the werewolf, magic crackling through his fingertips as to show sparks between his fingers. His magic seemed to have imbued him with such strength that the wiry man was able to almost pick up the werewolf by the front of his shirt. It was an awesome and frightening sight. For how could a Beta harbor such power?

“WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO, BEFORE?!” Rabastan screamed, jerking on Fenrir’s shirt. But the werewolf stood his ground and not show the growing panic as his air was cut off by Rabastan’s chenching hands. “You mean to tell me that we’ve trekked all the way into this God’s Forsaken forest, just to be blocked because we weren’t invited? I need that fae witch to implement my transformation. I should have been born an Alpha and she is the key!”

“Forgot,” Fenrir managed to wheeze out as Lestrange’s fingers continued to curl around his throat tightly. Fenrir began gathering all his own magic into the core of his being. That way if he had to defend himself he could do so without having to reach for his wand. He then lowered his eyes and through gritted teeth said, “Master.”

Rabastan let go of Greyback in disgust and kicked him down by hooking his foot behind the larger man’s knee and shoving at his chest. He then sent his foot into the werewolf’s ribs and head repeatedly. Veins were pulsing at his throat and forehead, Rabastan was red with anger and allowed the momentum to continue his assault on the pitiful putrid worm. He wanted to kill that worthless mongrel.

“Master,” Scabior coughed from the shadows of the tent. “Master,” he tried louder but was helpless to physically interfere. When Rabastan was in one of his rages, the best course of action was to let it play out. But watching the assault on the Fae Witch’s tracker wasn’t something that Scabior would forget anytime soon. Just as Rabastan was about to pick the wolf up again Scabior coughed louder still and decided he had to risk turning his master’s rage toward him, they still needed the werewolf. “MASTER!”

“WHAT SCABIOR? THIS SNIVELLING SACK OF CRAP HAS TO…”

“Begging your pardon, Master,” Scabior said with a dark twist to the lips at the sight of the fearsome beast felled by a Beta Wizard, “but the whole reason we got this far is because of that snivelling sack of crap.”

“What do you suggest we do then?”

“How about we go to her actual residence? Maybe we can lure her away from her mates? You’ve always been able to get further with cunning instead of brute force, milord.” Scabior looked at Rabastan from behind lowered lashes, hoping he would be distracted enough to stop the assault.

Rabastan paused as Scabior’s words filtered through his brain and his rage began to fade as ideas began to percolate. Yes, he’d always been quite cunning, his intelligence winning more battles than physical strength. Why not go after what he wanted by out thinking his opponents? He straightened and walked back over to his chair, sitting down he asked,

“How?”

“By following her scent trail from here back to where she started, Milord,” Scabior placated the still angry, but calming Rabastan.

“It’s not a bloody straight line from here to there. And won’t her supposed mates be suspicious if you just show up?” Greyback replied testily, coughing as he sat back up and rubbed at his ribs. He was glad that as a werewolf his healing was accelerated. If he was just an average wizard Lestrange could’ve crushed his windpipe not to mention break several of his ribs, “besides, it’s been weeks since she’s come through here, other scents intermingle and have most likely erased the route she took. It took all my wolf senses to get us here. Now we’ll have to travel another, who knows how many more miles? Why can’t we just continue to Glevum and forget this whole mess?”

“No! I refuse to give up on the chance to change my designation. I was meant to be an Alpha and an Alpha is what I plan to be! Nothing will get in the way of my goal! Besides, who is the master here? Not you, I didn’t ask you for what cannot be done,” Rabastan banged his hands down on the table causing his tankard of ale to jump a few millimetres in the air, the contents sloshing over the side. “I asked you for what could be done. No, in fact, I’m ordering you. Lead us to Grange Keep or you will suffer the consequences! As for the witch’s mates? We’ve fought together for years, they won’t suspect a thing until it’s too late.” Rabastan grinned evilly at the thought of stealing the witch right from under Lucius’ and Severus’ noses. He would prove himself more powerful in the end.

Scabior stood back in the shadows waiting to be told what to do by either man, who was he to stand between an irate Beta and a much angrier Alpha wolf? Both of whom could cast spells. Whilst he could work magic just as easily, he preferred it to be in his defense than to resolve this pissing contest. The only reason he’d stayed with Rabastan for so long, was because he really had no choice.

He was from a destitute noble family, his grandfather losing everything to the Lestranges by placing wagers on jousts and tournaments. His father had sold him to the Lestange patriarch to be a whipping boy for his two sons, it wasn’t until Scabior had saved the Lestrange patriarch while out hunting that he started training to become a knight. Scabior had hoped to earn his spurs and make his own way in the world. There’d only been one person that he’d loved unconditionally, his sister Elspeth. She’d been so beautiful, her dark mahogany hair fell to her waist, her laughing blue eyes and her caring nature had made all who came in contact with her fall in love with her.

Elspeth had been working as a lady’s maid for Lady Lestrange, having just turned sixteen when she mysteriously died. She was found at the bottom of the stairs, neck broken. It was assumed that she had misstepped, as there had been a bundle of clothes laying next to her. It was concluded that she couldn’t see where she was going and had fallen to her death. Scabior hadn’t wanted to accept it. Elspeth was a witch, so why hadn’t she just levitated the clothing? That would have prevented her untimely death.

It’d been found out later that she had been in the early stages of pregnancy when she’d died, but there hadn’t been a way to determine who the father was. So, then it was assumed that whoever fathered her child had pushed her down the stairs and then used the clothes to try and cover up the deed. When he had learned of the circumstances of his sister’s death, he’d vowed that he would avenge her. So far, his search for her killer had been fruitless. Scabior then refocused on the drama inside the tent when he noticed Greyback stand.

“Fine,” Greyback snarled, “I will get my men in order and we go at dawn. We need sleep to keep our senses sharp.” he then turned on his heel and quit the tent.  

*****

It took them several days to reach Grange Keep the early spring weather making the trails and roads a muddy mess. They knew they were in the right place as her scent hung over the domain like a protective shroud to keep evildoers at bay. They pitched camp in a fallow field near-by what appeared to be building works in progress. It seemed that de Malfoy and de Prinz were already well on the way to fortifying their new home.

For the first time in weeks Rabastan Lestrange smiled nastily, “Thought to keep us out did they?” he asked no one in particular, “if her Alpha’s are already here, there shouldn’t be a problem. We go way back and they owe me a few favours!”

From a distance, they saw a young man riding towards them on his horse.

“A weak beta,” Greyback growled a laugh. “Still, he should prove useful to gain entry.”

“Some words of flattery should do the trick,” Rabastan said as he trotted forward, “ho there!” he cried, “we seek shelter!”

Harry pulled on the reins of his horse as he surveyed the ragtag group of men and horses. They all gave off an unsettling vibration and Harry thought they were up to no good. Life had settled down over the last few weeks. While Severus and Lucius would continually ask when Hermione would be coming back, they seemed content to keep themselves busy with establishing their dominance over the denizens of Grange Keep.

But that morning Luna had woken with a scream and kept saying dark clouds were on the horizon. Harry had to wonder if these men showing up had something to do with her nightmare.

“Who are you and what do you want?” Harry asked of the biggest of the men, assuming he was the leader. Greyback smirked and then turned to a smaller man without saying a word. The smaller man nudged his horse forward and said, “I’m Rabastan Lestrange. My men and I seek shelter for a short time. I hear that two of my comrades from Hastings have made this their home and I wish to pay my respects. Lead us to them.”

Harry could feel in his bones that this man was no good, but he was the Steward while Hermione was away and it was his duty to see that guests were treated well. With reluctance Harry said, “Follow me to the Keep, Masters de Prinz and de Malfoy are the ones who can grant you leave to stay within their lands.”

When everyone within the camp began to gather their belongings, Harry felt a moment of panic and hastily said, “Only you, Master Lestrange may accompany me to the Keep. The rest of your men are to stay here. Food will be brought to your men.”

Rabastan’s lips twisted disdainfully, before he smiled, but it was a cold smile and said, “I must insist that my squire and commander come with me. The rest of my men will be content to remain here. Is there perhaps a village where they may bed down? We’ve been sleeping rough for several days and would like a warm place to rest.”    

“There is a village around the other side of the Keep. However, I must insist that your men stay here and set up camp. If my masters allow it, your men may then venture to the village.” Harry said, his green eyes hardening, he had a feeling if he allowed these men access to the village there would be chaos.

“Very well,” Rabastan said, then asked. “My squire and commander, may they accompany me to the Keep?”

“Yes, but once within the walls, they must defer to the will of my masters. Their word is law,” Harry said steadily and Rabastan had to look at him, maybe he wasn’t as weak as Greyback said he was.

“Fine, lead the way,” Rabastan said and then paused before asking. “What’s your name, lad?”

“Harry. I'm the Master of the horse and Steward of Grange Keep. My Lord’s will be sure to welcome you to their home,” with that Harry wheeled his horse around and galloped away. Rabastan, Scabior and Greyback following closely behind.