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Monday, April 12th, 2004

    Time Event
    1:24a
    Erato part 1: What the fuck?
    What the fuck?

    On her seventeenth birthday, Falerina Erato didn’t receive a present from her parents as she usually did, instead, the family owl, a black and white snobbish creature, swooped through the window of her room with nothing but a letter tied to its leg. Seeing it, Falerina thought her parents had hit an all time low and sent money, she knew they couldn’t really care less about her birthday anyway. So she was quite surprised when she opened it.

    Dear Falerina,
    As we’re sure you remember, your late uncle Willis left you some money in his will to be put in your very own vault in Gringotts on your twenty-first birthday. However, since he never agreed with our decision to send you away to Durmstrang for your schooling, he made it a prerequisite that you spend your final year in school at Hogwarts.
    We have arranged everything with both Karkaroff and the Hogwarts Headmaster Dumbledore, and we expect you to apparate to our mansion tomorrow evening ( use the Floo network f you like, but you get so dirty from it, and we’ll be expecting you around dinner time).
    We sent an elf to Diagon Alley yesterday, so you will not have to buy the books or the robes you need yourself.
    See you tomorrow then,
    Adorada and Merovech.

    Ps: sorry to spring this on you, we were supposed to tell you earlier, but we forgot. Give the owl some water, and send him straight back here. We need him.

    Falerina got out of bed. “What the fuck?” she thought. “Hogwarts?” After breakfast, she showed the letter to Karkaroff, Headmaster of Durmstrang, and he simply nodded, and he said he’d arrange for her luggage to be sent, if she could finish packing tonight. He looked really miserable, but then again, he always did.
    The day was spent up in her room packing, no one was there to help her as the other Durmstrang students had vacation until next week. She was the only student who stayed through summer, Adorada and Merovech didn’t want to spend too much time with their daughter it seemed. They’d sent her away when she was five, to live with a Durmstrang professor, but she quit her job at Durmstrang the same year she turned eleven and was old enough to attend herself. She’d liked her a lot, professor Hellen had taught her lots of magic and treated her like a daughter of sorts. Falerina was sad when she left, but then again, they both felt Falerina was old enough to be on her own, and Hellen wanted to see the world. Before she left thought, she had entrusted Falerina with most of her books on magic, and Falerina had sucked up the knowledge from all of them. She was more adept than most of the teachers when it came to magic, and she reckoned she’d be just as good in Hogwarts.
    The next day she spent most of the afternoon trying to find her cat, Alecto. Alecto was more of an escape artist than a cat, she was always off somewhere where she shouldn’t, and always up to something. Falerina loved that cat. With its black and grey stripes and dark red eyes, it was the most beautiful cat in the world.
    Having finally found Alecto in a cupboard in one of the boys dormitories, she went to Karkaroffs office to say goodbye. That being done, she ventured outside, cat in her arms, to have a final look at Durmstrang. It was an ugly building really. All stone and no style.
    She whipped out her wand, seven inches of hawthorn containing the hair of a succubus, and disapparated.
    With a loud “crack” she appeared in front of the large oak doors of the Erato residence somewhere in southern Scotland. Alecto was wriggling in her arms, and she let it down onto the ground. The cat ran off into the garden. Falerina wasn’t sure whether to knock or not, she hadn’t set foot in this house for more than three years. She spent a minute or so calming down, before she knocked on the doors with the tip of her wand, and entered.
    ‘Welcome miss!’ as squeaky, and sickly sweet voice said. ‘Swiggins has been looking forward to seeing miss again, yes he has, and Swiggins has gotten all of your luggage and put it in your room he has’
    Falerina looked down on the little house-elf that was bowing down in front of her. She ignored it completely and proceeded towards the downstairs living room.
    ‘Miss! I have unpacked your clothes as well.’ Swiggins was tugging the hem of her skirt.
    ‘Don’t touch me!’ Falerina said through gritted teeth. One day, she’d give that annoying little pest clothes for sure.
    Swiggins shrank away quietly, and Falerina entered the living room. Her mother, Adorada Erato, was sitting in a plush velvet chair, facing her. Falerina was surprised to see her getting out of to greet her with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
    ‘Falerina! At last!’ she grabbed Falerina by the shoulders, looking her straight in the eyes. ‘We thought you’d miss dinner!’
    ‘Well, here I am,’ Falerina said. Not knowing whether or not to squirm. ‘I brought my cat along, but she ran off into the garden as soon as I got here.’
    ‘That’s alright Falerina,’ her mother said. She had removed her arms from Falerina, and was now using them to straighten her dark green velvet gown. Adorada looked like an older, more bony version of her daughter, her long black hair was tied up in a tight bun at the base of her neck, her eyes were lined with kohl, and her lips were painted in a deep red shade. She was quite pretty, although Falerina never understood why she hid her hair in a bun like that. Both Falerina and her mother had luscious, long black hair, and Falerina thought it was one of their best features.
    ‘Your father,’ Adorada said suddenly, with a low voice. And in he walked. Merovech Erato, wearing a pin-striped muggle-inspired suit, his black hair neatly cut, holding his arms out to Falerina as she turned around to face him. Somehow, the way they greeted her seemed a bit wrong, hugs and kisses wasn’t something she’d ever gotten lots of from her parents, she hadn’t even seen them for two years. “Oh well,” she thought, “I’ll be spending some days here before I go to Hogwarts, so we might as well be nice to each other. But it will probably be fucking awful.”
    ’Father,’ she said and put on her best smile. Merovech, a very tall man, took her into his arms for a short while and gave her a hug.
    ’Falerina,’ he said with his usual, grave voice. ’Glad to see you’re here. Come on now, I’m hungry, and dinner is ready.’
    He ushered both Falerina and Adorada out of the living room and into the dinner hall. The dinner hall was a huge room, with a large wooden table set in the middle. All around the walls paintings of family members were hung, and as Falerina entered, most of them greeted her. There was her late uncle Willis on her right, he’d been killed by an Auror apparently, her great-great grandmother Cestus, who’d caused quite a scandal in her day when she left the family to work in a brothel in Marseille (she gave Falerina a wink as she walked by), Dagobert, who’d been a famous knight in the twelfth century, he would jinx and kill any muggle who crossed his path. There was also a large painting covering most of one of the long walls portraying the journey of the Erato family from their one-time home in the fabled Arcadia in northern Greece to their new home in the south of Scotland. Arcadia had been the home of the first werewolves, and every now and then you’d see a pack of them racing across the painting. When Falerina was little, before they’d sent her away, this had been her favourite painting. She stood silently for a while, looking up at it, waving back at the people waving at her.
    As the food appeared on their plates, and another ugly house-elf started serving Falerina Butterbeer, her mother said: ’We would have given the servants orders to make you your favourite food, but we’ve forgotten what it is. I hope this is ok, dear.’
    ’It’s fine, mother,’ Falerina replied, wondering yet again why her parents were acting like they suddenly cared for her. When desert came along, her parents looked at each other for a moment, her father took a deep breath and said: ’Falerina…’ and grabbing Adoradas hand. ’Now that you’re back to live with us, well, at least for a couple of days before you leave for Hogwarts, we need to, how shall I say it, re-introduce you to the wizarding community here. You’ve been away for so long, not many people know you at all, and since you are our only heir…’
    At this point Falerina looked up at him. Now what? She knew that the only reason her parents had had her was because they needed an heir. Couldn’t let the Erato family die out, could they? So Adorada had given birth to one daughter because the Eratos had demanded it of her. Merovech wasn’t to happy about it either. But, here she was.
    ‘What your father means to say is,’ Falerinas mother looked at her almost pleadingly, ‘we’re throwing a party here tomorrow night. We’ve invited some fifty people, mostly close friends of the family, but also some prominent people from the Ministry of Magic. We trust you will be on your best behaviour, and don’t look at me like that, we’ve heard some stories about you from both Hellen and Karkaroff, Hellen sends her love by the way, she sent us an owl from Hongkong the other day.’
    ‘A party? I wasn’t expecting to be socializing so soon,’ Falerina began, cursing her parents for arranging a party that would most likely be as dull as flobberworms. ‘I wanted a few days to settle in first…’
    ‘You will attend, and you will behave and be happy,’ her father said sternly. ‘You are our only heir, and the family has a reputation to look after, and you are our chance to show that also the next generation of Erato uphold certain values and so forth.’
    ‘Tomorrow morning, I’ll be teaching you names of the families who will attend the party, I want you to know all about them and how to engage in pleasant conversation with each of them,’ her mother looked at her, a slight frown on her brow.
    ‘Fine,’ she said finally. No point in arguing with her parents. She’d done that once or twice before, and it was too much of a hassle, since both her parents were very vindictive and not shy punishing her by cutting off her funds and making her mingle with servants for days on end. Falerina had never liked house-elves. They had no pride. She had pride. Her parents had pride also, being a pure-blood family. Falerina in addition took pride in being one of the cleverest witches this side of the Atlantic, she just didn’t flaunt it too often. Flaunting ones cunning and skills usually lead to questions and Falerina hated nosy people as much as she hated house-elves. It was equally dirty and undignified.
    The next day she spent most of the morning with her mother, talking about the different families, mostly wealthy pure-bloods, and trying on different outfits for the evening. They finally settled on a white dress with live pink flowers and green leaves on it. When Adorada wasn’t looking, Falerina adjusted the length of it with her wand. She preferred her dresses short.
    The day went on, and on, and on for ever it seemed. Her parents were very stressed out about the party, worried about everything, and constantly reminding Falerina that she had be on her best behaviour, not to forget her manners and so on so forth, but finally, the evening arrived. Falerina was running a bit late, having had to find Alecto and transport the cat down from the top of a tree, so that they could lock her up. Merovech didn’t like the idea of pets running around the house when there were guests, and he didn’t like Alectos red eyes. He didn’t stand having Alecto around, but he tolerated the constant fluttering of house-elves around the house. Falerina had always thought the miserable little creatures should stay in the kitchens, out of sight, but her parent thought otherwise. She wished her parents would give them all clothes, so that they could have proper servants. Good-looking ones. Not small, stinking elves. Some enchanted muggles perhaps? The Imperius charm would work, surely?
    She was still up in her room, struggling with a hissing Alecto, trying to get the damn cat into it’s cage so she could seal it magically, when most of the guests arrived. Several loud “crack”s were heard out in the garden as they apparated. It’s not very polite to apparate straight into a party. And one should always knock on the door anyways. But Falerina was very late, and she could here her mother walking down the corridor towards her room.
    ‘Falerina!’ Adorada said briskly, having forced open the door. ‘Why aren’t you ready!’
    ‘Sorry mother, I had to catch Alecto first. Don’t worry, I’ll be down in two minutes.’
    ‘Well, hurry!’ and then, with a sigh: ‘I was afraid this might happen.’
    With the sound of Adorada rushing back downstairs, Falerina quickly put on her dress, shortened it a bit more with her wand, put on some shoes with heels and magiced on some make-up. The make-up spell was probably one of the most useful spells she knew. She’d perfected it by the time she was thirteen, and could now put on several different looks, whatever suited the occasion.
    She looked amazing by the time she was walking down the stairs and entered the dinner hall which had been redecorated for the occasion. The table was gone, and the floor was crowded with people, most of them clutching glasses with drinks (fire whisky and Alco’s Greatest Sparkle mostly), and trays carrying more drinks were floating casually around in the air. Talking ceased for a minute or two when she entered the room, stopping after a few feet, smiling sweetly.
    Her mother approached her, looked disapprovingly at the hem of her dress for half a second, but then quickly grabbed Falerina by the arm and dragged her towards a group of people. From the wall, Falerina could see her great-great grandmother Cestus waving at her from her painting.
    ‘Falerina, I’d like you to meet the Lestranges.’ Her voice was a soft purr as she introduced Falerina to them. Falerina shook hands and was very polite and nice, telling the Lestranges some shit her mother had told her she should say, pretending to be extra nice to their daughter, Patrizia, who was only one year older than herself. After a while Falerina excused herself, saying she had to greet the other guests, and went off to mingle. After an hour she was exhausted. The forced smile she was wearing was threatening to fade, and all her parents would give her to drink was Butterbeer. They must think me naïve, she thought, so young, so pure, that type of thing.
    She sneaked off towards the small room at the end of the dinner hall. It was a very small room, and more of a passageway to and from the kitchen than anything else. Anyways, the room contained a cupboard with different kinds of alcohol, and Falerina was desperate for something stronger to mix with her Butterbeer. The party was torturous, all these people, rich and wealthy, and still, they were so boring it hurt. Sure, some of the families represented had certain members that had been part of Voldemorts gang back in the day, some had been killed and some locked up in Azkaban, but no one ever talked about that, and all the other topics of conversation bored the life right out of her.
    She found a bottle of Witchy Wicked Vodka and started pouring it down the bottle neck of her Butterbeer, when she heard someone approach. She was kneeling down on the floor in front of the cupboard trying to spill as little as possible, but when she suddenly saw two black, shining shoes in front of her, she spilled some anyway.
    ‘Fuck!’ she muttered.
    She was still not looking up when she heard a deep, velvety voice:
    ‘Didn’t mean to startle you. Allow me. Evanesco!’
    Falerina muttered a swift “thanks”, put the vodka back into the cupboard and got up. The man facing her was wearing wizard robes of a blood red brocade, embroidered with dark green dragons, and an outer robe made of black, thin wool. He was carrying a cane with a silver head, shaped as a hissing serpent, and long blond hair was falling down his shoulders and back. He was in his late thirties or early forties, Falerina guessed, but those grey eyes and that handsome face: the man was dead sexy.
    ‘You must be the long lost Falerina.’ he said eventually, reaching out his hand.
    ‘Yes, and you must be Lucius Malfoy. The blond hair give you away I’m afraid,’ she took his hand and he lifted it up to his mouth and kissed it, his eyes never leaving her. Falerina had to concentrate hard not to blush. ‘I was never “lost” though, I’ve been in Durmstrang.’
    ‘I know,’ he smiled at her. ‘I wanted to send my son, Draco, there actually, he’s starting his first year at Hogwarts.’
    ‘Oh really?’
    ‘Yes, but my wife, Narcissa,’ his face grimaced for a second, ‘didn’t want him at Durmstrang, said it was too far away from home. Karkaroff, is a very good friend of mine, and I know both Draco and he were disappointed. Then again, I am one of the school governors at Hogwarts, so I’m sure my son will be alright there as well.’
    He looked at her and gave her a slight smile, his right hand was clutching the top of his cane, and Falerina noticed that he was wearing gloves. The smell of the leather made her bite her lip. After a moment of silence, during which Falerina was thinking naughty thoughts, she remembered that he was a close friend of her father and looked at her bottle of Butterbeer and Witchy Wicked Vodka.
    ‘You won’t tell, will you?’ she said hastily, looking up at him with her big blue eyes.
    He lifted his cane up to her face and stroked her face with it, taking hold of her hair with his other hand.
    ‘I wouldn’t dream of it,’ he said softly, in a voice that made Falerinas knees all wobbly. They stood like that for a while, trying to out-stare each other, when a shrilly voice called out:
    ‘Oh there you are, Lucius! I’ve been looking all over for you.’
    The voice belonged to a tall and thin woman wearing a horrible red gown with mint green embroidery, long blond hair, albeit very thin hair. She wore just a bit too much make-up, and her face had an expression a mix between drunk and politely angry. Lucius immediately lowered his hands and cane away from Falerina, and turned around.
    ‘Narcissa, dear, I want you to meet miss Falerina Erato,’ he gestured from one to the other, and Falerina went on saying something like how pleased she was to meet her and bla bla bla. She knew that Narcissas last name had been Black before she’d been married to a Malfoy, so they talked about that for a while until Narcissa, who was holding on to her glass of Alco’s Greatest Sparkle as if it was a matter of life and death, announced that she and Lucius had been asked to join the Lestranges in some discussion about the Ministry of Magic.
    As they were leaving her, Lucius turned to Falerina, bent close to her and whispered in her ear: ‘I’ll deal with you later.’
    Falerina almost choked on her Butterbeer and vodka. After some time though, she started feeling better, and re-entered the party. She mingled successfully for the next three hours, stopping regularly to fill her bottle with Vodka from the cupboard.
    She was feeling positively tipsy when her mother approached her for the fifth time, taking her by the arm and pulling her towards some people. This time, Adorada wanted to introduce her to the Malfoys this time. Lucius and Narcissa were standing in the middle of the room, Narcissa starting to look very drunk, but then again, so were most of the other guests.
    ‘Lucius! Narcissa! I want you to meet my daughter, Falerina,’ apparently Falerinas mother was getting quite drunk as well, she was showing a certain happiness Falerina had never seen before, and parading her on front of the Malfoys as if she actually was proud of her.
    ‘We’ve already met,’ Lucius said, Narcissa only gave her a nod.
    ‘Yes, we have,’ Falerina said, trying not to stare at Lucius with too-obvious lust in her eyes.
    ‘Right then,’ her mother said, and dragged her off to another group of people.
    Falerina could feel Lucius’ eyes on her for the rest of the evening. She felt glorious, and the rebel inside her was waking up.

    Current Mood: dirty

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