Dark walls rose high around Sofia in every direction. She could feel her body sinking downwards, as she descended below the earth. The absolute silence and lack of any stimuli unnerved her wolf senses and disoriented her, but she took deep breaths to calm her spinning head.
For three days she had torn apart Grimmuald Place, looking for any sign of where Harry and his friends may have gone. That was the last place they had been spotted, though it had months ago. Death Eaters had already torn threw it hundreds of times and there were no sign of where they had gone.
The house elf Kreacher had followed behind Sofia as she had conducted her search, begging her to stop, to leave his mistresses things alone, and to stop her search for Master Potter.
"I want to, Kreacher, but I cannot. Like you, I cannot ignore an order from my master. I am bound to him."
The poor old elf had been tortured to the brink of death for information about Harry's whereabouts. Death Eaters had burned him, cut him, hung him by his feet, and starved them, until they finally realized that even had Kreacher wanted to betray Harry, he was unable to reveal his master's secrets. When Sofia had arrived he had been weak and in pain. She had healed his wounds and banished his pain, unable to watch the innocent creature suffer. She had left him with a heavy heart, knowing that Death Eaters would probably come back soon to finish the job they had started with him.
She pushed the thoughts from her mind and did her best to focus on her task at hand. She had to find Harry. She knew that he was trying to kill Voldemort. She needed to know what he was trying to do, what Dark Magic Voldemort had used to become immortal. If she could figure out that then she could figure out where Harry and his friends might be headed.
She had wanted to go to her parents and speak with them, but she had not wanted to draw her family into her troubles. They would try to protect her, to shield her, but she had to do this task. If she could find Harry perhaps she could warn him, protect him in some way.
Not being able to return home, she had gone to the only other place that might have all of the answers she needed.
The wall slid open in front of her, allowing her eyes to catch sight of a faint light flickering a few yards off. She stepped towards it, exiting the dark stone elevator and entering the ancient library of Semolund.
Semolund was the oldest known magical city, the place from which Sofia’s ancestors had reigned. They had watched over and protected the city and world.
The city now lay underground, sunk into the earth to conceal it from the nonmagical world. Only those of pure heart could enter the city, for it was home to some of the greatest knowledge and power of the age. It was protected by a fellowship of wizard warriors who were bred to protect its secrets and serve the masters of the city.
Sofia remained still for a moment as her eyes adjusted to the dim light.
She was standing at the end of a long stone walkway about three meters wide and twenty times as long, surrounded by the dark walls of the earth. On both sides of the walkway, it dropped off suddenly into a dark, endless abyss of nothingness. On the far side across from Sofia the walkway widened out into an enormous stone island, shielded by large wall made of the hardest material known to man; solid diamond. There was a set of pearly white gates that rose up high to the top of the dark cave beneath the earth where the city was hidden.
Sofia walked slowly across the walkway, her black cloak flowing silently behind her. She felt her nerves beginning to creep up again, as she saw the gate open and a dark hooded figure step out in front of her. She stopped a few paces in front and waited silently.
“Sofia Adema,” a deep voice called from beneath the hood. “Princess of Semolund, daughter of King Carston and Queen Guinevere, the guards of Semolund welcome you to your kingdom. Last you were here you were just a child, young and naïve about the troubles of the world. Now you have seen the truth of the world, and you come to the city below the earth in search of the rest of the truth. My Lady, you bring with you great troubles and worries the city, and the guards and I are worried about the consequences if you find what you seek. If we let you in to the city, the effects may be irreversible.”
“I am here with the hopes that the knowledge I gain might save lives,” Sofia said. “I promise on the lives of my family, that no harm shall come to the city.”
“It is not fear for the city that makes us wary. You see, we not only guard the city but life itself. We protect not only our homeland, but all of humanity. We watch over all there is to watch over, defending all that can be defended. All of the world is within our view, and all of the world is our responsibility.”
“I am trying to save the world,” Sofia said firmly.
“I know what you seek,” the hooded man said. “It is Dark Magic, not magic that people often wish to know about.”
“I seek knowledge about Dark Magic only to find the one who is trying to destroy it so that I may aid them.”
“You have been sent by the Dark Lord himself to find the one with the power to destroy him.”
“If you know so much,” Sofia said with her temper rising. “Then you should know that I do not side with the Dark Lord. My father is the Creator, my mother the Healer, and I am the Protector. Allow me to do that which I was born to do, protect those under my protection.”
The guard was silent for a few moments. Sofia could feel his eyes upon her from beneath the hood of his cloak.
“Wait here, My Lady,” he said finally.
He turned his back on her and walked back through the gates. It stayed open behind him, but Sofia silenced the temptation to pass through its boundaries. It would be folly to enter the city without permission, and would surely damage any trust she had built up with the guard. Besides, it was probably a test, to see if she was patient and wise enough to wait.
After a few minutes the hooded guard returned, but he was not alone. Behind him walked a tall, strongly built man with short dark hair, a strong jawline, bright blue eyes, and a long white cloak. The guard stopped walking and the other man stepped out in front of him. He stopped a meter short of Sofia and bowed to her.
“Greetings, milady. I am Wilsher, Captain of the guard, governor over the city in the absence of your family. Please excuse the questions; we are merely trying to do our jobs. You see, we seldom have visitors here. Few people, even in the wizarding world, know this city still exists. Fewer still know where we are located. When visitors come, we are cautious, for the secrets we guard are not for general knowledge.”
“I understand but this is important,” Sofia begged.
“Many things that one deems important are not seem as so by others,” Wilsher said. “One could argue that the only important thing in life is the protection of this city. As my guard here told you, we do not see things this way. Here in Semolund, our duty is the protection of the entire wizarding world. Therefore, I see that we have no choice but to allow you to enter.”
Sofia bowed her head graciously.
“Thank you,” she said. She opened her mouth to say thing else but he cut her off.
“Understand this, My Lady; even though your heart is pure, some secrets we cannot allow you to see. The only way to protect knowledge is to keep it separated. No one person should hold it all. The only building you shall see the inside of is the library. You are prohibited from entering any other part of the city, and you must keep my guard with you at all times.”
“I understand,” Sofia replied. “Thank you.”
Wilsher stepped sideways and held an arm out towards the guard who was standing behind him. Sofia stepped towards the guard, who turned quickly and walked into the open gates. As she stepped into the ancient city, she felt her breath leaving her body as the gate closed behind her.
Daniel stood alone outside Professor McGonagall’s office, his mind spinning. His sister had been missing for over a week, and he was really worried about her. The first few days she had been missing, he had been sure she had just needed to get away for a few days. Even when they were children, many times she had wandered off to be alone for a day or two. But she had always come back in seventy-two hours. She wouldn’t just vanish and not tell him. They told each other everything, even things that they kept from their parents.
He had come to speak to McGonagall, to see if she had any idea where his sister might be. He had already talked to their cousins, Natalie, and even Luke. Luke had been the last person to see her, but she had left in a hurry after speaking with him in the Entrance Hall. His parents did not know where she had gone, and even though he was pretty sure McGonagall would not know either, he had to try.
He took a deep breath and knocked once on the door. He had always been intimidated by the Transfiguration teacher. She had a hawk-like gaze and valued order.
“Enter,” her voice called from inside.
Daniel opened the door and stepped into McGongall’s office. She was sitting behind her desk, reading a piece of parchment intensely. She did not look up from it as he walked towards her desk.
“How may I help you, Mr. Adema?” She asked, though he could tell from the tone in her voice that she already knew why he was here.
“Do you know where my sister has been?” Daniel asked.
Professor McGonagall put the parchment aside, put her hands together, and leaned her chin against them.
“Mr. Adema, you and your sister are alike in many ways. You both cannot resist getting involved in the affairs of others, even though,” she continued as Daniel opened his mouth to protest. “It is to protect them.”
“Professor, it is not like her to be away this long and not tell me where she is.”
“Have you written to your parents?” McGonagall asked. Daniel got the feeling she was asking out of her own curiosity.
“They have no idea where she has gone. They have not heard from her in over a month. She’s been avoiding talking to them.”
“My dear boy,” McGonagall said softly, “I do not know where your sister is. It seems that every day I lost more and more ability to protect my students.”
“Do you think they took her?” Daniel asked. “The Death Eaters.”
McGonagall shook her head.
“I have no idea. I do not believe so, but then again, I have no idea what their plans are.”
Daniel felt disappointment in his chest. It was as though his sister had simply vanished.
“Thank you, Professor,” He said.
He turned to leave, and as he did so, McGonagall called after him.
“Have faith that your sister is alright. She is more capable of looking after herself than some of the wisest wizards and witches I know.”