Hence, loathèd Melancholy, of Cerberus and blackest Midnight born, in Stygian cave forlorn, ‘mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unholy.
His house was in the moors of Northern England. Lord Prince supposed it could be a manor house, its stone hallways sweeping, and yet it was like many Northern homes, dark, not made for comfort but to keep out the wild winds and rains from Scotland. There was nothing else for miles upon miles around. He knew there was a village ten miles down the road, but he hadn’t been there—not since his Dionysia left this world.
The house—Wolf Hall—used to be full of laughter. His beautiful Octavian, with black hair and even blacker eyes, would ride his child broom about even though his mother would scold him not to. He was all childish happiness and youthful good looks. His smile could quell any heart angry with him. He instantly had both his dame and his father wrapped around his little finger and if he had lived—lived past his fifteenth summer—he would have been a heartbreaker. Little Octavian Romulus Prince. He was so impetuous, so full of laughter, and part of Lord Prince’s heart turned to stone when he fell from his broom and broke his neck before he could become a man. Part of him wondered if his great-granddaughter was named for him, even if unconsciously.
Lucrece had been different as a child. Two years younger than her brother, she had been all grace and quiet reflection. She could never be called beautiful. Her features were too chiseled, her brow too harsh, the light in her eyes too cold and calculating, and yet when she would smile and sing she could not help but make everyone forget instantly that she could never be truly beautiful, only elegant and stately and handsome. She was every inch a Prince as her older brother was. With one sideways looks, she could make any man wish to please her since the age of twelve when she first began to grow. They would never touch her, their fear of Lord Prince and their respect for a pureblood’s maidenly virtue too great, but Lord Prince knew that men looked and wanted, men who were his peers and his age.
He had often feared for her, his darling daughter, his youngest child. The Rosier boy had fallen for her when she was but thirteen years old and had actively petitioned Lord Prince once a week until, on her fifteenth birthday, he and Dionysia decided to agree to the match when Lucrece entered their private sitting room and informed them that she would marry the future Lord Rosier.
Nothing else needed to be said.
He growled deeply in his chest, pacing the room. Lucrece, though, she had ruined it all. She had not trusted him, her father—had not trusted a boy who loved her more than life itself—had not trusted a mother to understand and wash away her tears after the injustice done to her.
Lord Prince would have skinned Lord Malfoy alive and then sold his body parts for potions, if he had learned what had happened then—though he assumed his anger would have quelled when he learnt about the Imperius Curse. That half-blood Pretender! He rued the day his sister Eileen had thrown herself at that Muggle drunkard.
Everything would have been all right, mended, if Lucrece had only trusted them. If Rosier would not have her, he would have found her a good husband who would care for her, care for the child, a man of honor who perhaps was in need of an heir. Someone older who could be turned by a pretty face and feel compassion at a young maid’s plight. She would have been cared for, Octavian would have been adored for the simple fact of being born and bearing his stepfather’s name. She would have had to go into seclusion for a year, but once the child was born she could have returned to Hogwarts with her head held high, knowing that she was worthy of affection and family loyalty. Octavian would have grown up in England, denied nothing, with two grandparents who would spoil him, a stepfather to protect him, and an absent mother who did not matter because he was already so loved.
But the Rosier boy would not have cared. He would have made Lucrece his wife instantly and loved her, seeing her swollen with child. Lord Prince understood. He had adored Dionysia when she was ripe with children, and it wouldn’t have mattered if they were not his—not if she loved him and it had been forced on her. He would know that other children would follow and would have loved her for her strength—as Rosier would have adored Lucrece and showered Octavian with all the fatherly attention a boy could ever want, simply for being the child of the woman he adored.
The demmed woman, though, had to run off, her head held high, ever the Prince. She punished Octavian for growing in her womb, punished her parents for not having the foresight to realize that she had slipped away from Hogwarts.
He had been contented though saddened when he thought for all these years she was dead. Now, though, he hated the very thought of her, and would have stricken her completely from the family—denying her the name of Prince—if not for little Octavian Nür, his beautiful and wonderful heir.
At least Harry had had the sense to send her packing before she could do more damage. Octavian never had to see the wench again that had condemned him to such a life and had all the love now that he had been denied for so long—the love of a husband, the affection of a grandfather, and the devotion of an infant child.
Still, Octavian was too young to be married. He had married when just fourteen—too young to love—too young to father a child—too young to know his own mind. He could love again, Lord Prince thought as he stroked his chin in thought. So much could happen with this demmed war. He cared only for Octavian’s health and safety, for the health of that little girl named for a son long dead.
It would be a tragedy if something befell Harry, his grandson-in-law, but so much could happen. The Dark Lord could grow tired of his neutrality and slaughter him, Dumbledore’s followers could execute him as a traitor, or more likely still the gifts of the three kings could extract their price from him—a life for a life granted, a life for one taken.
He smiled briefly at the thought.
No, this house was too lonely, too drafty without the sound of children laughing. Octavian and Romola belonged here, as Princes, who served no one, not as the consort-husband of a boy-hero who still had yet to grow into his title or into full manhood. They would be here one day, with tears at first, but still Wolf Hall would return to its former happy state.
He strode toward the fireplace and threw a handful of floo powder into the flames. He didn’t belong in this relic of the past anymore, but at Octavian’s side.
A smile graced his aged face, his black eyes shining expressively. “The Firefly Jar,” he called out and he stepped into the green flames.
French to English.