Kingsley tried not to sigh in exasperation as Dawlish chortled at him from the other side of the bars. Although guards were necessary to patrol the corridors and provide meals, the tainted Auror had decided to torment his boss against orders.
“Oh, how the mighty have fallen!” he wheezed. “You’ve gone from Minister of Magic to a lowly criminal who is about to receive the Dementor’s Kiss! I am looking forward to watching that.”
Despite his resolve to ignore the man, Kingsley couldn’t help replying, “And how do you know that Dawlish?”
“Hehe, I have my ways,” he giggled in delight of the money he was going to make on the bets being made on this trial. Aurors talked and even with a gag order, rumors and half-truths were running wild over the deaths of the previous Minister of Magic Arthur Weasley and his wife. The fact that the Headmaster of Hogwarts, considered extremely unsociable, was involved along with several of his staff made for legendary tales. It was highly unlikely this trial would be anything but a circus.
John Dawlish turned away, he missed the golden glow filling the cell containing Kingsley Shacklebolt, as he slumped to the ground.
“My Aegis do not despair. Your time before the Wizengamot is approaching and my mark will be upon you.”
Dazzling magic danced over Kingsley’s dark skin as an intricate shield was emblazoned on his forearm.
In another cell, Bill Weasley was trying not to growl out loud nor gnaw on his arm. The frustration poured off him – while they were not close to a full moon, the urge to thrash and tear his way out of confinement was nearly unbearable. Hermione was pack, she was hurting and the need to help was overwhelming his rational mind. Added to the fury, was the worry for his wife and family. He knew things were going pear shaped when Potter locked Hermione up in the infirmary. The kid was seriously deranged from all the trauma he had been though, and most likely had spells on him from the Weasley parents.
A golden glow filled his cell, and Bill’s eyes went from blue to amber and back as he felt the presence of Athena surround him.
“Greetings my Wolf,” the bell-like voice chimed. “You have chosen your pack well and it pleases me.”
The eldest Weasley bowed his copper head in reverence, “Goddess, I am humbled by your presence.”
Her tinkly laughed echoed about his cell before a heart felt sigh emanated from Athena, “Darkness has not yet been conquered. You and your pack have been chosen to be wield as my tools to complete my task of bringing peace to Britain. At least for a time.”
The demi-wolf shivered as he felt her magic settle over him and her symbol of the wolf appeared on his forearm.
“Your pack will be reunited shortly, and the rituals will take place before the disbelieving Wizengamot that they be brought to heel and remember that Magic is the one in charge, not they.”
Hermione was astounded when the image of a beautiful, ageless, woman dressed in a toga appeared before her. She felt unclean and unworthy to be in the presence of such a powerful creature. Hunching down, she cast her eyes upon the floor of her cell and waited in trepidation.
The Goddess looked down upon her chosen avatar and felt compassion well within her. “Hermione do not fear me. I am here to aid you and prepare you for the tasks ahead. I am sorry your suffering is not yet over. You are my chosen one, along with your bond-mates, to complete the task of bringing peace to Britain.”
Overwrought with confusion, Hermione looked up in amazement, “Me? I’m just plain old Hermione – the walking encyclopedia, I’m nothing special.”
“Oh, my dear, you are more extraordinary than you know and in time you will understand,” the Goddess told her. “For now, rest and know that you will be healed soon.”
As Athena began to fade, her magic swept over the young woman, and a tattoo of a hellebore was etched onto her forearm.
Severus’ black eyes sharpened as he recognized the figure before him and bowed his head in respect.
“My Lady Athena,” he rumbled, awe tinging his deep baritone.
A cheeky grin flited over the Goddess’ face as she took in the dark-haired wizard in front of her. “You remind me of Hephaestus. He was a true craftsman, much like yourself.”
Astounded, the Headmaster’s head shot up in wonder. Having had little praise or encouragement over his life, it amazed him to be compared to a God. Tears pricked at his eyes, and he attempted to blink them away.
The Goddess softened as she understood his pain. “It is no weakness to show emotion, my dear one. You are entering a time when you will need to reach deep into your emotions to connect to your beloveds.”
Pink tinged his cheeks, as he half shrugged in embarrassment.
Athena continued, “You and your bonded have been chosen for a great task. Your trial will be soon, and my sign will be upon you that no one will again doubt your loyalties.”
Her magic washed the last of the dark mark from his arm and in its place was an intricate sword.
As the Goddess faded, her last word was, “Soon.”