Losses beyond imagining

Chapter 54

Narcissa delved into the darkest corners of the Malfoy library. Her fine hands, blackened by sooth, went through volume after volume of obscure literature. “Finally… this may be it…” she whispered as she noticed a golden glow radiating from one of the gilded spines. Gently, she blew the dust cloud of the stack of books, trapped under a heavy suitcase.

Dark Stones: their significance to Seers, The Future Explained: the Role of Dark Stones, “Dark Stones: Legendary Myths or Poppycock?” and Ministry Lies: Dark Stones Plot to track Dissenters.

Narcissa laughed. Even in the Wizarding World conspiracy theories occasionally grew rampant. But none of these were the one she wanted. That one was more voluptuous yet far more fragile as well. Much older too. Carefully, she took the book in her hands. The soft golden glow intensified at her touch. This book was filled to the brim with magic. It made her a little fearful.

Expel the Darkness within the title read. It sounded more like a self-help book than anything else. The kind of thing she’d always detested. The reason this book was in the forgotten corners of the library was not its lack of value, rather the opposite. Its contents were inflammatory and had been long disregarded by the Malfoy family. Expelling their Darkness was something they were hardly interested in….

She began to read, flipping through it to find what she needed. Her mother had told her stories of the Bole and Dark Stones, but they had sounded like fairytales. When she inherited the Belarusian Bole, Narcissa had not been pleased. Surely it had magical properties, but she was hardly the type… Narcissa had no interest whatsoever in camping and survival techniques. Yet her mother had insisted.

“You may need it one day,” she had whispered hoarsely, “when you fall on hard times…” It had been on one of her imagined deathbeds… Throughout her childhood, Narcissa’s mother had one of these dying spells every other month or so. The number of fare-well gifts she’d received was enormous.

Whenever they were on the move, or went into hiding, she had remembered her mother’s words regardless. Perhaps she had meant her gift for times such as this… It had come in handy too, occasionally, and she had learnt to appreciate it over the years. Still, her sisters had received far finer gifts… and had teased her endlessly about it.

Narcissa’s mother had imagined herself to be a Seer. With her flair for the dramatic, this image of herself fitted her quite well. However, she had never really prophesized anything particular and despite indulging her fanciful notions, no-one actually believed her predictions. Narcissa had distanced herself from such silly ideas as she grew up.

But at this precise moment, it came back to her. Her mother had been privy to specific knowledge about the Bole. She had longed to use it but backed away in the end, deeming it too dangerous. Flipping through the old, mouldy pages, snippets found their way into her consciousness. Something about a…

There it was! A drawing of a Bole, precisely like the one she’d given Draco. Narcissa quickly read the entry. The book was beginning to heat up, nearly burning her hands, hellish to the touch. That was the trouble with powerful and good magic… It didn’t mix well with the likes of her… An ancient protection measure to keep the book from being destroyed. Only those with honorable intentions should be able to hold and read it.

Eventually, she had to drop the book. It fell on the library floor, pages scattering around. Narcissa moaned in pain at the sight of her blistering hands yet a smile appeared on her face nevertheless. She had what she needed.

“Where Earth and Heaven meet, you yourself may greet,” she repeated, as she hastened to get parchment to write her son an owl….

“Is that what I think it is? That’s your owl, right?” Harry peered at the sunny, cloudless sky. They were practicing spells in the farm yard, teaming up in pairs, alternating partners every half hour.

Draco would recognize his owl anywhere and whistled at it. The magnificent Eagle Owl increased its speed and landed at Draco’s shoulder in no time.

“Should I read it aloud?” he wondered, untying the message.

“Let me first…” Hermione snatched the parchment out of his hands. “I want to see if I’m right…”

She speedread through the message, a bewildered Harry and angry Draco peering over her shoulders. “It might work…” she finally admitted. “It was as I thought… The Bole and Dark Stone combined makes for a powerful combination…”

“Care to share it with the rest of us?” Ginny snapped.

“Harry…” Hermione said, “remember the mirror of Erised? How it shows you what you want? There are folk tales about this Bole and the Dark Stones… granting you your greatest wish… That’s why the Bole could be stolen and what makes it so valuable…”

“That’s not what it actually does though….” Draco muttered. “Meeting yourself it says here…”

Hermione nodded in agreement. “It’s real uses are far less widely known… Jemina is likely to know the legend… It might lure her back to us…”

“Should we let her steal it?” Elphaba caught on. “So she will use it?”

“My thoughts exactly.” Hermione replied.

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