Prelude

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Prelude

In the dead of night, the little town of Cobham was asleep. Torrents of cold rain beat a steady tattoo on metal rooftops, and the creaking of the buildings was lost amidst the din of the storm. Puddles coalesced into shallow streams, gushing down neglected and dirty streets. The few trees along the street groaned as harsh winds tore relentlessly at their branches and rustled their leaves, and their inky silhouettes swayed where they stood, dancing to the sinister tune that constituted the storm. Churning grey clouds obscured stars which might otherwise have illuminated the darkness, and the dark was indeed so profound that no average person would find themselves capable of distinguishing their hand in front of their face.

Such was the nature of the night when Anastasia Peverell materialized within the shadow of an especially large maple tree. In her pale arms was clutched a child, young and swaddled in a soft green blanket. Too fast for a human, she darted across the street and through the wrought iron gate to a decrepit, somber looking building. A sign on the gate proclaimed the structure to be Bennett's Orphanage, and it was here that the woman began to cry, shining tears leaking from her glowing green eyes.

It was here that her child would live, now. This drab, wretched place of sorrow and gloom. The thought of her baby's future sent a fresh wave of tears rolling down Ana's cheeks, and she didn't even attempt to wipe them away as they mixed with the rain on her skin and in her auburn hair.

For as she drew her drew her wand and cast a water-repellent charm on her son's blanket, she knew she would not be returning. Even as she tucked a bit of parchment bearing his name into the folds of the soft cloth, her husband was fighting off the Dark Lord Grindelwald. He had given her time, she knew, but not much. 'Run, Ana! Take Hadrian and leave! I'll hold him off!' her husband's voice rang out in her mind. And she had. Because in spite of all they'd done to hide, the aliases they'd been using for nearly a century, they had been hunted down at last.

By the Dark Lord Grindelwald, no less! After all this time, it was he that would spell their downfall. He had, no doubt, heard rumours of Ana's pregnancy, and with her husband and her being what they were, he had wanted the child. Of course he had. For though the Dark Lord knew not their true names, he knew their nature. And so he had hunted them down, demanding that they swear their allegiance and their son's.

But as wise as the Peverells were, Ana and Cassius were still parents. And they would sooner die than subject their precious son to a life of servitude.

Now, they would do just that.

Ana knelt, Hadrian clasped tight in her arms, and pressed a kiss to his forehead. Her son looked up at her with eyes so like her own, and she mourned the fact that he would never know her, that she would never know him.

"I love you, Hadrian. Mummy loves you, daddy loves you," she choked back a sob. Drawing in a shuddering breath, she continued on. She didn't have much time.

"Be strong, my son." she breathed, "Be strong, be Dark, be great." even as she said it, she knew that he would be. He would be greater than any that came before him, and perhaps any to come after.

With trembling hands, she placed him gently on the dusty doorstep. Taking one last look at her infant son, so beautiful and so innocent, she stepped into the deep, tenebrous shadows of the orphanage. She would return to her husband, and together they would face the Dark Lord. They were Peverells after all, and would most definitely not go quietly.

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