Sofia locked herself in her room for the rest of the holidays. Her her cousins tried to convince her to come out. They did not know what had happened and had no explanation for her sudden withdrawal other than what had happened at a meeting which they knew nothing about. When their attempts to bring her out were unsuccessful, her aunts and uncles tried. They told her through the locked door that everything would be okay, that they had all survived this part of life and that she would too. When they failed, at last Sofia heard the familiar voice of her father outside her door.
"Sofia, I'm coming in."
She didn't have time to react before her door, which had been magically sealed, swung open. Her father stepped inside and the door swung closed behind him.
"Sofia we need to talk."
He walked towards Sofia, who was sitting idly on her bed, and say down beside her.
"Who was that woman?" He asked her.
"I met her at Professor Slughorn's Christmas party. She said she was the heir of Rowena Ravenclaw."
Her father looked shocked for a moment. He stared at her in silence letting several seconds tick by before he spoke again.
"Do you remember us mentioning the White Wolf?" He asked.
Sofia nodded. How could she forget? She relived every moment from that day over and over again in her mind.
"The White Wolf was the first of the Adema kings centuries ago. He was the strongest wizard ever to live. It is the presence of his blood in a witch or wizard today that gives them the Adema blood line. You see, he was invincible, able to stop death, become invisible, do almost all the things that we teach our children today as being impossible."
Sofia nodded as he contributed.
"The White Wolf was, until now, the only one of his kind. It has long been believed that the one who bore the soul of the White Wolf would have powers that only he could imagine. There have been other wolves, plenty of them, but you are the only White Wolf."
"So, are you saying that I bear hit soul?" Sofia asked.
Her father nodded.
"A piece of his soul lives within you. Since you were born and your tattoo took it's form, your mother and I have had our suspicions. You were always much further ahead than any of us were at your age. Then you transformed for the first time, and you told us of the shape you took. We knew for sure then. And then last year, at the ministry, the magic you performed to save Hermione Granger, it was magic even your mother and I could not perform until we were well into our twenties."
"What does any of this have to do with Voldemort?" Sofia asked.
"He knows of the history of the Adema's. How, it is unclear. He knows of the legend of the White Wolf and the heir. He wishes to reign in that power, harness it for himself so that he becomes the most powerful force since the White Wolf himself. With you at his side, he knows he would truly be invincible."
"Doesn't he already think that?"
Her father hesitated for a moment.
"At one point, yes, he thought himself invincible. But sixteen years ago he learned otherwise."
"Why did he not die that night? I have always wondered what kept him alive."
Sofia's father stood up and walked across her room to the glass doors that led to her balcony.
"In order to die, one must first be living, correct?"
"I-I suppose," Sofia muttered.
Her father continued staring out the window as he spoke.
"Voldemort took extreme measures to ensure his immortality. In doing so, he maimed his soul so much that he was not truly alive. So, when power that should have killed him touched his skin, it was unable to kill that which was not truly alive to begin with."
"So if he is not truly alive, how will he ever be defeated?"
"There are ways to...to kill him, but each piece of his soul must be individually killed first."
"What do you mean the pieces of his soul?"
He turned back to look at her, his face grave.
"I mean just that. You see, he has literally divided his soul into pieces and preserved them in another form. In doing so insured that he could not be killed by a single blow."
"Where are the pieces of his soul now?"
"I do not know. He has hidden them."
"But if we could find them and destroy them, he could be mortal again."
Her father walked back over and sat beside her.
"That is not our duty."
"Why not? We could do it. We could make him mortal again."
"No!" He said firmly. "We cannot. It is not our duty."
"Why can't we make it our duty though? Why can we not do it?"
"Sofia please, just listen to me for a moment," her father said, his voice softening. "We cannot interfere in these matters. The duty of challenging the Dark Lord has been fated to someone else. My child, your destiny lies elsewhere."
"But haven't you always told me that we get to choose our own paths?"
"To an extent, yes. But there are some things that cannot be changed. There are some things outside of our control."
"But you said-"
"Enough!" He cut in angrily. "We will have no more talk of this."
Sofia recoiled. Her father never talked to her this way. He was always calm and level-headed. Something about this conversation had set him off.
He noticed her shock and his face and voice softened.
"I received a letter today from a Mr. Luke Wolfrick asking if I would allow you to visit him at the end of the holidays."
Sofia had not thought about Luke all holiday. She wanted to see him, to feel his warmth wrapped around her and to feel his comfort.
"Of course," her father said, "If you wish to go spend the remainder of the holidays with this boy then I must insist that you spend some time with your family before you leave. I have asked them not to bring up everything that has happened. They love you. They just worry about you."
"Why do they worry about me if I'm the White Wolf?" She grumbled.
"Because you are still a child, and everyone here would give anything to carry your burdens for you. Sofia, we love you."
She looked up at her father, whose presence had always comforted her. His deep blue eyes were soft and warm.
"I love you guys too," she said.
"I know. Now, get your things packed and then spend the night with us. After all, today is Christmas. I will take you to Mr. Wolfrick's house in the morning."
Sofia had not even realized what day it was. She suddenly felt bad for locking herself away while her family was just trying to share the holiday with her. Her father stood up and left her room silently, closing the door behind him.
It only took her two flicks of her wand to pack. Her father had known it would be this way, but had probably just wanted to give her some space. She spent another hour alone in her room, looking over the artifacts from her childhood.
On her desk across from her bed, her first edition copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard was lying alone. Pictures of her with her brothers and cousins covered the walls. In all of them, she was young, happy, and completely unaware of the terror she would have to face. She had known of the family curse, of course, but she had never dreamed she would actually be called upon to fulfill her servitude.
There were figurines and stuffed animals covering shelves, books that had been read so much that their covers were tattered and worn. On one shelf there stood a small wooden jewelry box.
This is where she had grown up. This is where her heart had always been, preserved in the memories of the love she held for her brothers and the rest of her family. This is the room that no longer belonged to her. It belonged to the innocent eleven year old that had left it three years ago as she headed off to Hogwarts to the first time. It belonged to the child who had spent years playing games with relatives. It did not belong to her anymore.
This life, surrounded by family, was not hers anymore. It just was not the same. Though she knew she was still a child in the eyes of society, in reality she was a young woman, aged by the tasks she was burdened with. Already when she looked in the mirror above her desk, she did not recognize the young blonde woman staring back at her with worried eyes.
Eventually the time came where she could linger in this room no longer. She needed to be surrounded by the family she loved in the home she grew up in, even if it might be for the last time. In her heart she knew that change was coming, and that in time she would have to leave and not come back. This could not be her home much longer. She would have to leave, to protect her family and fight on the front lines. She just did not know what side she would be fighting for.
That evening her family gathered around the fireplace in the parlor to open Christmas presents. There was a lack of excitement in Sofia's heart, but she did her best to cover it. Though she seemed to convince most of her family, Marcus seemed to know better. He stayed quiet though, respecting her silence.
The rules of the family were that anyone over ten bought presents for the other cousins. The adults would buy presents for everyone.
From her aunts and uncles she received various books on advance defense against the dark arts. Amelia gave her a set of rare potions ingredients. James gave her an invisibility cloak. The twins gave her a box of assorted wizarding candies from Fred and George Weasley's shop. Marcus gave her a firebolt, which she found amusing since she hardly ever rode a broom, even though she was quite skilled at it. She received a Foe Glass from Ollie and a pocket Sneakoscope from Daniel. Lillian have her a box of decoy detonators and extendable ears.
Once all the presents were open, Sofia's father stood up from his chair directly across from the fire.
"It is so good to be gathered with family on this Christmas," he said. "As you all know, dark times lie ahead for all of us. Every moment we have together must be cherished, for none of us know what lies ahead."
He paused, looking around at his wife, children, sisters, in-laws, and nieces and nephews.
"Most of us are old enough to remember the day that our father died. One that day, he looked me in the eyes. With his dying breaths he told me to watch over the family he was leaving behind. He told me that there will come a day when I cannot protect my family any longer, when they will take their lives into their own hands. I prayed he was wrong, but I am afraid that for the older ones of us, that day has come. I speak directly to Amelia, James, Lillian, Julius, Marcus, Sofia, and your parents. The time has come that you all choose your own paths, your own destinies. I have done all I can to protect you all, and I will continue to do so, but now your lives are your decision."
The room was eerily quiet except for the crackling of the fire. Carston allowed his words to sink in for a moment before he spoke again.
"And now, to my daughter," he said, stepping towards Sofia. "Looking at you today, I realize you are not the little girl I sent off to school two and a half years ago. You are a young lady, and a burdened one. Your mother and I have done what we could for you, taught you what we could. I have one last gift to give you, one last thing I can do to protect you."
He pulled a small black box from inside his robes and handed it to Sofia. She took it gingerly and opened the package.
Inside there was a small silver ring on a delicate silver chain. The silver band held a single red diamond jewel. Inside the jewel was a small white wolf outline.
"This ring belonged to the White Wolf himself. It holds his blood in the jewel, and has been passed down through the generations. It belongs to you now, and in time it will help you master the power of the White Wolf."
Sofia picked up the ring and felt a whisper run through her mind. She slipped the chain around her neck, and it rested next to her heart.