On the second day of Christmas, a noticeable lethargy hung over the Slytherin common room. The hushed tones of conversation were punctuated by occasional yawns as everyone rose from their slumber rather late.

With nine more days of vacation remaining before the school’s resumption on January 4th, a subdued atmosphere pervaded the space.

In the days preceding Christmas, the focus was primarily on revelry and leisure. However, the realization that only a scant ten days remained prompted a shift in priorities. Little wizards were now scattered across the common room, engrossed in their written work.

Skyler, despite his status as a Champion, did complete his homework. Many professors extended preferential treatment, a sentiment underscored by Professor Binns, who uncharacteristically congratulated Skyler on his victory in the recent class project.

This distinction surprised his peers, as Skyler became perhaps the first student in recent decades whose name lingered in Professor Binns’ memory.

Although homework was not the foremost concern, Skyler and Draco found themselves compelled to leave Hogwarts due to a somber family development— the passing of Grandma Druella Black.

Following Lucius’s arrangements, Skyler and Draco employed floo powder to reach Druella’s small house that day.

Skyler, despite his typically reserved demeanor, is not devoid of sentiment. Though his interactions with his grandmother were infrequent, the genuine love she harbored for him manifested through thoughtful gifts on every Christmas and birthday.

During Skyler’s brief sojourns at her home, the elderly lady diligently prepared delicious meals, ever concerned about his eyesight due to extensive reading, ensuring he had access to pricey eye replenishing serums.

The passing of Druella marked a somber occasion. House-elves had summoned Lucius and his wife before her demise.

While the circumstances prevented Skyler from bidding his beloved grandmother a final farewell, there was solace in the fact that she did not embark on her journey to the afterlife alone.

Having lived through two generations, Skyler experienced a complex array of emotions at her passing— not devastatingly heartbroken, yet touched by a poignant melancholy.

Remaining at her home for two days, he and Draco aided Lucius and his wife in hosting relatives and friends who came to offer their condolences.

Despite the decline in the prominence of the Black family, such references pertained to the patrilineal bloodline.

As the foremost pure-blood family in the wizarding world, the generation of Grandfather Cygnus Black boasted numerous cousins, with their bloodline persisting. For instance, figures like Mr. Crouch and his two sisters traced their lineage to Charius Black of the esteemed Black family.

In simpler terms, Mr. Crouch and Skyler’s maternal grandfather share a familial connection as cousins. Both being influential figures in the political sphere, their interactions are approached with a degree of caution.

Similarly, Mr. Arthur Weasley, another cousin in the family, bears the same blood ties to Cygnus Black. However, due to the Weasley family being labeled as “pure-blood traitors,” they won’t be receiving an invitation to the funeral.

A notable exception among the attendees was someone who, despite being excluded from the family and uninvited, made her presence felt—Skyler’s second aunt, Andromeda Black.

The paradox lies in the fact that she is Druella’s biological daughter, yet her arrival was far from embraced. Narcissa, in particular, maintained a stony silence, offering not a single word of acknowledgment.

Though she stared at Andromeda with a veil of indifference, her trembling hands betrayed an inner turmoil. Despite the strained relationship between the sisters, Narcissa struggled to summon the resolve to expel her second sister from the somber proceedings.

Druella Black was blessed with three daughters—Bellatrix, Andromeda, and Narcissa—who once shared a close and sincere sisterly bond.

This solidarity was notably evident in Aunt Bella’s fierce allegiance to Voldemort in the original narrative. She went as far as concealing her magical contract with Snape from Voldemort, all for the sake of protecting Narcissa.

Regrettably, this tight-knit sisterhood began to unravel when Andromeda chose to marry a Muggle wizard. As a consequence, Andromeda was disowned, and the ties between the three sisters were irrevocably severed.

In light of the reluctance displayed by his father, mother, and Draco to engage with this estranged aunt, Skyler found himself compelled to take the initiative.

With his name carrying enough weight and stature, even though he belonged to a younger generation, none present dared to censure him casually.

Skyler’s appearance served a justifiable purpose—expressing condolences with genuine goodwill. To mete out cold treatment under such circumstances contradicted noble principles.

Simultaneously, Skyler’s actions did not go unnoticed by keen political observers, who interpreted them as a statement on his stance regarding the pure-blood ideology.

Skyler was well aware that his actions had incurred the disapproval of the Ghost Society and the Knights of Walpurgis, and he wasn’t concerned about potentially attracting more enemies among pure-blood extremists.

On the contrary, he saw an opportunity to clarify his stance publicly and, by doing so, communicate to the moderate members of the pure-blood families.

He aimed to reveal that within the wizarding world, there existed a third perspective beyond the extremes of pure-blood supremacy and pure-blood traitors.

Andromeda, touched by Skyler’s heartfelt words of comfort, found herself moved to tears.

Yet, all she managed to utter in response was a repetitive “good boy, good boy.”

To be honest, when she summoned the courage to attend the gathering, Andromeda was mentally prepared for rejection, ridicule, disdain, or even insults.

However, she hadn’t anticipated being received by a younger family member who offered condolences and sympathy. This unexpected display of warmth left her too emotional to articulate a complete sentence.

In addition to the various branches of the Black family, there were also representatives from the Rosier family, the family from which Druella originated.

Evan Rosier, the last known member of the Rosier family, had met his demise at the hands of Moody, who was an Auror at the time, for his involvement with the Death Eaters.

Despite the Rosier family being originally from France, the French branch was considered the core of the Rosier lineage.

In France, Rosier was one of the 12 Holy Blood families with a long and esteemed history, holding a position in the upper-middle echelon, at least before some members became entangled in the Global Wizarding War.

However, this implication alone was sufficient to rival the status of the Moreau family.

The official burial of Druella took place in the afternoon on the second day of the funeral proceedings.

Immediately following the funeral ceremony, a well-dressed middle-aged wizard, a specialist in will processing from the Legal Execution Department of the Ministry of Magic, approached Skyler. He commenced the reading of Druella’s will in the presence of the Skyler family.

As per the provisions outlined in her will, Druella bequeathed her entire inheritance to Skyler.

This included ownership of the Gringotts’ vault, the small house, the House-elf Sasha, various valuable antiques, and more. It was a gesture to convey her immense love for her grandson. Skyler willingly endorsed a series of magical contracts, solidifying his claim to the inheritance.

To immortalize Druella’s memory, Skyler registered the name “Ella’s Cottage” with the Ministry of Magic, ensuring her legacy lived on.

After completing all the necessary arrangements, Skyler intended to depart with his parents and Draco.

However, an unexpected obstacle emerged in the form of an old witch with shrewd eyes, thick eyebrows, and short black hair.

Skyler vaguely recalled encountering this elegantly attired lady on the first day he arrived at Ella’s Cottage. The peculiar thing was that her name eluded him; despite Skyler’s meticulous efforts to entertain and remember each guest, he had no recollection of her. His memory, usually faultless, left no room for errors or oversights.

To Skyler’s surprise, Lucius merely nodded to the old witch, instructing Skyler to remain behind and return to Malfoy Manor on his own after the matter had been settled.

Identifying herself as Miss Vinda, she revealed her status as a distant blood relative of Druella’s family in France, belonging to a branch of the Rosier family. Having committed a crime in France, Miss Vinda sought refuge in England, where she found shelter and assistance from Druella.

It suddenly dawned on Skyler, recalling a name long forgotten by those around him—the elderly woman before him was indeed an extraordinary individual!

Vinda Rosier. She was the right-hand woman of the first Dark Lord Grindelwald, holding a prestigious position among the ranks of the saints, making her well-known.

The extent of Grindelwald’s trust in her was evident through her assignment to oversee Grindelwald’s Divining Skull.

“Skyler, I hope you don’t mind if I call you that. Feel free to call me Aunt; it has a warmer touch.” Vinda, with her discerning eyes, had already observed the faint aura of black magic surrounding Skyler, which included the dark magic of the Rosier family that she was familiar with.

“Aunt Vinda,” Skyler, aware of the person’s identity before him and recognizing her as an astute and powerful individual, dared not let his guard down. “Hello. How may Skyler be of assistance to you?”

Vinda smiled serenely and responded, “I knew it the moment I laid eyes on you. You’re a clever young one, and that greatly pleases me. Dealing with someone like you can save a lot of effort. Let me be direct—I’ve heard what others have said. You are Druella’s most cherished grandson. I received many favors from her in the past, so I wish to do something for you as a way to repay her.”

These words didn’t catch Skyler off guard. Given his reputation, it was implausible to portray him as a fool. Moreover, with the will just disclosed, it was evident to everyone that Skyler held a special place in Druella’s heart.

However, Vinda’s subsequent inquiry took a different turn. Her gaze sharpened abruptly, and she asked, “I have a question for you. Have you mastered the ancestral magic of our Rosier family?”


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Published On: February 19, 2024

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