A few days later Sofia returned home for Christmas. It felt good to be back in the comforts if her home, surrounded by her family. Her aunts and their families came to stay for a few days, and the house was filled with children and adults enjoying the holiday spirit. Lights and other decorations were plastered inside and out, enhancing the mood.
Sofia had not seen her cousins in over a year. They attended Danish wizarding schools, so she never saw them except for holidays.
There were twelve cousins in all. Amelia was the oldest on her fathers side. She was nineteen and had grown up too much for the rest of the children. She preferred talking politics and world events with the adults than playing games with the children.
Next was James, the tall seventeen year old who closest to Sofia. He was an expert at transfigurations, and was known for changing family pets into other animals without warning.
The twins Lauren and Julius were next. At fifteen, they were practically the same person just living in two different bodies, more so than even the Weasley twins. They were rule followers, never joining in on the children's games for fear of getting in trouble.
Marcus was Sofia's age, and the closest to her. He had a knack for getting trouble and leading other children into trouble as well. However when all was said and done, he never shied away from his punishments or tried to push the blame onto someone else.
Evanna, Lillian and Ollie were nine, eleven and twelve. They were a handful, always running around in circles and bouncing all over the place. Combined with Daniel, they were a destructive force that caused the parents to cast protective shields around any objects in the area that they valued.
Arabella was eight, but she was far more elegant and graceful than the rest of the children. She was soft spoken and polite around the adults, but when they turned her back she could be rolling around in dirt and mud with the rest of her cousins and siblings.
Magnus, Joseph, and Argus were the youngest; seven, five and three. They all looked almost identical, with the same light hair, rosy cheeks and bright blue eyes. Whenever there was trouble, they were in the center of it, and often found themselves the puppets of some of the tricks and pranks that Marcus came up with.
On the first morning the cousins arrived, all of them except Amelia went out into the fields where the Aethonons were roaming through the snow. Argus and Matthias, who were the same age, had never ridden them before.
"Let's play Splash!" The twins called.
Splash was one of the many games that the children had invented. They shot balls of colored liquid from their wands at each other while riding the Aethonons. If you were hit, you were out and the last person in the game was able to get out if doing any chores that came up over the holidays.
"I get Matthias!" Sofia called.
Since Matthias and Argus were too small to ride on their own, they would ride with someone so they did not feel left out. Sofia wanted Matthias to be with her because she did not trust the riding skills of some of her cousins. Lillian took Argus and the the fourteen children mounted winged horses.
"On three," James called out. "One, two, three!"
The aethonons kicked off from the ground as little balls of color vegans shooting around the field. Sofia saw one whiz past her head. She held one arm tightly around Matthias and with the other she held her wand. This meant she was steering and holding on with her knees and legs.
"Get em!" Matthias cried out.
Sofia sent a ball at the nearest person, Joseph. It hit him in the back of the head and he let out a groan.
"Yeah!" Matthias screeched.
Sofia was distracted by his excitement and barely managed to duck a light blue ball hurtling towards her face. She steered the aethonon around and flew towards the edge of the field. Then she steered it back around and they hovered in midair while she surveyed the game.
Joseph, Lillian, Argus, and Magnus were already out. Lauren and Julius had teamed up, like always, and were chasing after Daniel. Marcus and Ollie were shooting balls back and forth, Arabella was flying through the middle of the field, sending balls flying in every direction. She hit Evanna, who was not paying attention, straight in the face. James flew in to head her off and they started shooting back and forth.
"Watch this, Matthias," Sofia whispered in his ear. "I'll show you how to win."
She began to circle the others, first in a wide pattern, then slowly getting tighter and tighter. Then she shot a ball towards James, hitting him in the side as he was focused on Arabella. He swore and Arabella took off past him after Sofia.
"Hold on," Sofia told Matthias. She spun the aethonon around and sped off as Arabella chased her. She kept the aethonon flying in spastic zigzag patterns to keep Arabella from getting a good shot. Then suddenly she pulled the aethonon up vertically and pulled him to a stop. Arabella was unable to slow her own in time and flew right under Sofia.
Sofia shot a ball that hit her in the head, showering her blonde hair with neon green liquid.
"Yeah!" Matthias shouted
Sofia smiled as she turned the aethonon around to face everyone else. Daniel had managed to take out Julius before Lilliana took him out. Ollie was flying towards the ground, covered in purple. Only Lilliana and Marcus were left.
Sofia flew back in towards them and the three began to fly in a circle, flying sporadically, waiting for one of them to make the first move.
Lauren caves first, sending balls at Marcus first, then firing two at Sofia and Matthias. Sofia pulled her aethonon up quickly, easily dodging the balls. Marcus returned fire at Lauren, who was unable to dodge fast enough as a bright pink ball hit her in the chest.
"Just you and me, Sof!" Marcus called. "Ready to give in yet? You can wash my clothes for me."
"You seem to have forgotten that I have Matthias," she called back. Then she whispered in Matthias's ear. "Wanna get him?"
"Yeah!" Matthias screeched.
She handed him her wand and he immediately began shooting balls at Marcus as quickly as he could.
Had Sofia really wanted to win, she would have not let Matthias have her wand. She was sure she could beat Marcus, but she was glad to let Matthias have his fun. So, several minutes later when she walked into the house drenched in orange, she was not bothered by the long list of tasks that Marcus had designed for her to do.
The children went back into the house to warm up and change. Her father was waiting for them outside the parlor with Amelia. His face was solemn, and his eyes were filled with worry.
"Children," he said. "Go up to your rooms and stay there until your parents or I come to fetch you. Sofia, come with me."
"I'm coming with you," Amelia said.
"No," Carston said. "You will go to your room as well."
"But I'm not a child!" She argued.
"While you are in my house you will do as you are told!" Carston snapped in a tone that he never used with family. "Now get upstairs, all of you. And if any of you disobey me then you shall spend the rest of your holidays locked in your rooms."
The children rushed upstairs quickly, knowing that he would keep his word. He would know if any of them tried to listen in. He always knew.
"Come," he said firmly to Sofia once the children could be heard upstairs.
She followed her father nervously through the house to the door across from the kitchen that lead to the basement that was her fathers office. The door was open, and he signaled for her walk down. She did so, and he followed her, shutting the door behind him.
Her mother, aunts and uncles were sitting in chairs in a semicircle around one large chair. The person in the large chair made Sofia's heart stop, the sound of her heartbeat ringing in her ears.
"Ah, Miss Adema, I see you are enjoying your holiday with your family."
Voldemorts red eyes were shinning brightly in the darkly lit room. A smile was plastered upon his face as he stroked a large snake that sat upon his lap.
"I know you are worried," he said. "That I may hurt your family while I am here. I assure you that the protections your parents have placed hold true, that I cannot perform magic while I stand on your property."
Sofia looked over at her mother who nodded reassuringly. She felt her father put his hand on her shoulder comfortingly from behind her.
"Now," Voldemort continued. "I do hate to disturb your family at such a time, but I have a task that I require you and your father to complete. You see, there is someone I have recently learned very much about and it is important that this person not be allowed to gain power. You two will meet Bellatrix at the location I tell you and your mission will be the same as your last one."
"Please, My Lord, allow me to complete this alone," Carston begged.
"No," Voldemort said firmly. "I have made up my mind and this is final. I have written down where you are to go. Be there in an five minutes. Do not be late."
He stood up from his seat. The snake wrapped itself around his shoulders as he walked slowly over towards Sofia. He placed a hand on her chin and lifted it so that her eyes met his.
"Be good, child."
He removed his hand and glided up the stairs, disappearing from sight.
Sofia heard a sob and saw her mother bury her face in her hands. Her aunt Laney walked over to Guinevere and put her arm around her shoulders. Then Laney looked at Carston.
"Why, Brother. Why Sofia? Why not one of us?"
"You know why," Carston replied. "She is the wolf."
"I am a wolf too," Sofia's Uncle Max said standing up. "Why not me? Why not one of us who volunteered to be part of this family."
Max, who was Carston's brother in law, was a formidable man, almost seven feet tall with a muscular body.
"You are not the white wolf," Carsotn said firmly. "He knows of the white wolf and has obviously connected him to Sof. How, I do not know. What's done is done though. Come, Sof. We must do as we are told."
He pulled a piece of parchment from his pocket and, with one hand still on Sofia's shoulder, turned in place.
They landed in a dark, dreary hallway. The dark haired Death Eater, Bellatrix was waiting for them.
"Good, you're on time. Let's go."
She turned away and walked down the dark hallway. Carston transformed into a magnificent large golden lion that was as taller than Sofia's shoulder. She followed his lead and transformed herself, her head not even coming up to his shoulder.
Side by side, they followed Bellatrix, until they reached a doorway. Bellatrix lifted her finger to her lips to signal them to be quiet. Then she pulled her wand from her robes and pointed it at the doorknob. There was a click and the door began to slide open silently. Bellatrix stepped into the room and Sofia and Carston followed.
There was a loud bang, and Bellatrix was thrown backwards. Carston lunged at the source of the bang, a tall middle-aged witch who was holding her wand high. With a flick she sent him flying past her. Sofia lunged at the woman and found herself flipping through the air and landing a few feet away. Sofia looked up. Bellatrix and her father had regained their feet and were circling the woman.
"I am not afraid," the woman said firmly. "I do not fear the servants of the Dark Lord."
Sofia pulled herself up onto her paws and walked slowly towards the woman, who was now entirely focused upon Bellatrix and Carston.
"Think that not being afraid will save your life?" Bellatrix taunted. "You were dead the moment the Dark Lord marked you."
Carston lunged at the woman as Bellatrix shot a green burst at her. The woman flung Carston aside and ducked to avoid the curse, but was caught off guard as Sofia barreled into her from behind, knocking her over. The witches wand flew from her hand.
Sofia stepped back from the woman as she rolled onto her back, realizing that she recognized her. The witch tried to stand, just as Bellatrix hit her with a curse. Sofia let out a bone chilling howl of rage as the woman fell back to the ground unmoving.
Her last hope for freedom was dead. Jennifer Marquis, heir of Rowena Ravenclaw, and the one person who could free Sofia, was gone.