Half-breeds and Half-Bloods
A/N – I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters created by JKR. This is a work of fiction for more mature audiences due to a bit of violence and mature themes.
This is dedicated to my niece Luuzhu. I hope you like the story, my sweet girl.
The desert was thought to be dead by many, but to Sarah Campbell, it was alive and vibrant and amazing. She had studied hieroglyphics since she was about six or seven, spoke several dialects of the ancient language, and could translate well.
She also spoke goblin as well, a handy language to know since many of the curse breakers that Lord Campbell was working with were goblins.
She couldn't believe it when her father took her out of school after OWL's to work with him on a dig. He was known for his curse breaking skills, and had been recruited right out of Hogwarts himself for this post.
The hardest part had been leaving her mother. But she insisted that she go and do amazing work and be a good assistant to her father. And be a good hostess the few times that they had meetings.
She was doing research in her tent, her portable library open with a dozen texts strewn over the long dining room table. A message elf was at the door, crying.
"What is it Elsie? What has Liam done this time? Don't tell me that he has gotten another girl in trouble at school. I've taught him several charms. Not that he listened. He wasn't going to be instructed by his old maid sister. I only got the highest score ever on the charms OWL in Hogwarts history. But what do I know?"
The girl went over, and patted the elf reassuringly.
My darling daughter,
By the time that you get this missive, I will likely be gone. Try not to be sad for me dear one. I love your father, but he is miserable in England, and I have never been happy in a tent. I love you so much my wonderful girl.
Your brother will one day be Lord Campbell, but I want you to have my personal belongings. I have had Elsie put everything in your vault so that Liam cannot drink it away. I know that you love your brother, but there are times that I wish you could inherit.
I did the ritual. No, this is not the cause of my death. I have foreseen you being with your future husband soon, and you are going to be so loved. But something blocked the details. Be prepared for a very interesting marriage, my dear.
Live life, enjoy the adventure while you can. Remember me, not for my weakness but for the love that I have for you, my sweet, sweet girl.
Don't be in a hurry to meet me on the other side, but know that I am waiting for you there. I will watch over you forever.
"I am to be staying with you. I was your mother's maid. I is yours."
Sarah hated slavery, the thousand years of slavery of these gentle creatures was one filled with many, many abuses.
"Oh Elsie! Do you want me to give you clothes? Do you want to be free? I can't imagine being happy, living life a slave."
Elsie looked at her with her enlarged eyes. "You is good and loving. I is wanting to being with you. I is family. Your mother is asking me to be watching over you."
Sarah would not cry, she knew this day was coming. Oh maybe not today, but someday. No healer could cure her, and Lady Campbell's magic was slowly drained away. She had been mourning her mother for years. A curse? An illness? No one knew. But her husband couldn't handle the news that his wife was dying, and had taken this post. She didn't hate him for it, not at all. She understood why.
He couldn't bear to be so powerless.
"How are you doing Elsie?" Sarah asked kindly.
"I is being well. Liam's elf is staying away. Master Liam has been very, very bad boy. Trying to be stealing your gold. Is safe. Is here at Gringott's now. You has nothing of value in England. Elsie tooks care of it all. Bad Liam is not stealing from my Sarah."
"Thank you Elsie. Maybe both of us will find good mates here, um?"
Liam's elf had been given butterbeer at one of Liam's awful parties. Poor Elsie! He tried getting fresh. Well, he knew to leave her alone now.
Sarah shivered. She and her brother were as different as siblings could be. She didn't like him, didn't trust him, and once he became the head of house, would never return to England again. She would rather renounce her house that live under his rule.
There was a terrible ruckus outside her tent. Father must be back from his trading. Good. But it wasn't him, it was her brother, and he wasn't alone. She went outside reluctantly, her wand in her hand, and a half dozen spells coming to her mind.
"Sarah, where is father? I have brought Lord Goyle with me from England. His wife has recently passed away, and is looking for a bride. You my dear sister are getting married."
The man in question lumbered over to her, and pulled at the front of her robe, ripping it to show off her creamy skin and white corset stays under the robe.
His actions may have stunned her for a moment, but they were not the only people in camp. One of the curse-breakers saw what was happening, and came barreling at the men at speed. The goblin may have been a head shorter and five stones lighter, but he wielded his axe with authority.
She mended her clothes quickly, and had sent a stinging hex already to a sensitive part of the man's anatomy.
"What do you two think you are doing? Pawing at a lady like that in public? Back away or my axe will act, and your heads can watch the rest of your body spew forth your life's blood into the sand. Back off, now!"
"Wait until my father hears about your rudeness! What is your name? Or do you even have a name?"
"Of course I have a name. Flitwick, and if you want to be known as headless then keep your current place. Otherwise, back up!"
Liam Campbell might have been a bit tipsy, and more than a bit portkey sick, but he backed up and looked around.
"I would think that you would want a manor house compared to a tent. One heir, and your time in your own sister dear."
She aimed a stinging hex at his bits next. "You won't sell me to settle your bar tab or gambling debts. You found out that mother protected my dowry from you. I knew that you were smart. But you can't have it. It is invested, the gold is spent Liam. You wouldn't understand that. You can't use it, you can't find it."
"No! This is no way to talk to the future Lord Campbell."
"I've already talked to father about it. In his will, he casts me out of the family, dear brother. You can't take anything away from me, certainly not my honor. Now, they don't eat pigs in this part of the world, and they don't drink alcohol, and they don't allow men to paw at virgin daughters. So I would take your portkey and return. I will never submit to you or anyone that you bring. Never!"
"I don't know what you wasted the gold on, but that was a bad mistake! That gold should have been mine!"
"You had your gold Liam! You have had it in your trust vault for years, spending the maximum that you can instead of investing it and having it grow. Why do I try? My money belongs to me just like my right arm does. You have an arm of your own, you have gold of your own. Leave me out of your life from now on."
She added several charms in a chain that made him vomit in the sand. And again.
"I could make it were you could never drink again, or take a woman again."
"You already did something! I know it was you!"
Sarah smirked. "Good to know it worked. I'll be publishing that in a book. How to protect young girls.
Magical camels were coming in and Liam paled. "We'd better leave, Goyle."
"Why not stay, and tell father what you did?"
But the inebriated men left in a twirl of sand just as her father showed up with his men.
He undid his hijab and ran to her. Sarah normally did not leave the tent without her hair at least covered.
"Was that Liam?" He demanded.
The goblin strode forward, and Sarah realized that he had seen far more of her than was proper, and it wasn't just her hair.
"Lord Goyle, that is what your pig faced son called him, grabbed at your daughter like a slave girl, and had her half naked in public. Is this how you people conduct your marriages? We are far more civilized, I assure you." He stroked his axe as though petting a faithful dog.
Sarah had already fixed her hair and clothes. She didn't want to blurt out why Liam was there, but her father wasn't stupid either.
"He's after your gold. This means, this means. Oh Sarah." Her father looked at the large pyramid were they were working, but he wasn't seeing ancient curses or splendid architecture.
"Mother loved you. You loved her. We loved each other."
"Yes. Well. Thank you Flitwick, for protecting Sarah."
"You would do the same for my mother." The goblin smiled.
Sarah loved his mother. "Your mother wouldn't need such protection. Sorry, I know that I'm not supposed to talk to you. But my father and your mother are friends, and I do thank you for what you did. I didn't expect him to act like that and I froze."
"I saw you aim very mild spells at him."
"Well, a blasto curse would be my choice, but then I could be put on trial for line theft. Lord Goyle has little money, little power, and his heir is one of Liam's friends."
The goblin chuckled at first, but watched his mother's friend walk the nearby sand with a very sad look on his face.
"Your father is burdened."
"We do the ritual of passing tonight. My mother."
"Ah. My sympathies. A very bad day for you. Your mother, this man. I'm sorry."
"Thank you. Can you give me just one moment? I'll be right back."
The girl returned with a small braid of hair, six inches long.
"A token, a girl who is defended should give the warrior a token if she is interested in him as a potential mate. Or so your mother taught me."
Flitwick choked. "But you're human, I'm a goblin warrior!"
"And I swear on my magic that I would rather be betrothed to you than any Lord of England!"
The goblin stopped, and the girl blushed. Her hair was back to being covered, but the witch was trying to learn all she could about his culture. His mother had adored her since she first came here, a girl of fifteen, smart, quick, and willing to learn. And ask questions.
She went over to one of the many camp chairs and sat down. She looked down at her hands. And waited. Would he reject her out of hand? She waited.
The goblin growled. He could see that she was patient. A goblin maid would be pressuring him for a decision. He looked at his axe then sat down.
"I am not wealthy!" He declared.
"I own a tent, I have a vault of my own, increasing with my earnings here and as of today I have about two hundred and fifty thousand in jewelry, unless they are fake. I should have it checked before it is too late. I don't trust Liam. I think that is a good dowry."
"That is a very good dowry indeed. What is important to you?" The goblin demanded.
"Do you have any Truth with you?" Sarah asked. It was the potion that goblins used to question their prisoners. No wizard knew away around it or goblin either. Most guilty would start spewing before the goblet touched their lips as goblin justice was fair but harsh.
Those guilty of nearly any crime were sentenced to death. It kept their people in line though. The goblin caverns were a safe place to live.
"I know that most goblins think that wizards can't tell the truth. Your mother and I have been friends since nearly the first day that I came here. But that doesn't mean that you trust e. I'll drink your version of veritaserum, and answer any question. As long as you answer just one of mine."
"This sounds like the beginning of a fair trade. What do you want, humon?"
"If a goblin and witch marry, can they have children? I want to have children, and I don't care if they look goblin or wizard as long as they are healthy."
"What about love that your poets go on about? What about that?" The fierce goblin demanded.
"There are different kinds of love. Some love is shown with flowery prose and flowery acts and walks in the garden. Some love is shown by thrusting an axe in the face of an enemy to defend their mate or potential mate from harm. It depends on your perspective."
"You are the daughter of an ally! Do not read more into an act than there was, witch!"
"Now who needs Truth? As for what I want in my life. I tell you truly. I wait for the day that Liam drinks himself to an early grave. I cannot abide living with him, but the home itself is wonderful, and has a library that rivals Hogwarts. That should be safe from my brother while my father lives. He has no interest in intellectual pursuits. I want to return to England, teach charms at Hogwarts, raise children and at the summer take them to digs all over the world."
She tried looking into his face, and reading what she saw. She saw impassive goblin warrior.
"These children, they would be outcasts in both societies! Mine and yours."
"Some would no doubt feel that way. But one day, what we look like on the outside will not matter. It will be what we do, how we act that will matter. I am eldest of my house, I have invested wisely, but look at who will inherit? My father knows that my mother was faithful, and he never had a mistress, but no one knows how Liam came about.
"My child will inherit my wealth that I plan to add to, my child will be taught everything that I know, and I hope that one day my child, goblin or human will inherit my family's seat in the Wizengamot. Now, you can give me Truth, but then you had better be prepared to hear some very personal fantasies that do not belong in polite company that creep up in a well-read girl's mind."
The goblin warrior had faced many battles but not a situation like this. They were not alone. There were many people out and about the camp. The circle of chairs around the outside fire pit was a common place to gather. There was a spit for roasting capons and so forth, the smell enticing the warriors to sit and trade tales.
He paced. Finally he knelt at her feet. "I am not worthy of you. You are knowledgeable and have helped your father time and again with his assignments. He has been given a huge amount of gold and it was your work! I should have challenged him about it. That is theft!"
"Calm, my friend! My father may put on airs of the Lord Campbell at times, but do you know where he puts most of his earnings? In my vault! He keeps aside a portion for himself, for little luxuries. He feels that I am the reason that he can earn the gold he does. He has always shared it thusly, even before I came here."
"I did not know. This is good, very good. That was a leech in my stew for a long time. I am glad to know that he is as honest with you as he is with his people here. Good, good."
Elsie brought out the prepared chicken. Its stuffing was leaking out. Sarah showed her how to thread it on the spit, and make it correct level for the fire. She then activated the rune, setting it to rotate. A bit of stuffing leaked out.
"Darling girl, did you use my favorite recipe?"
"Yes, Mistress Sarah."
The girl looked around the camp. Most of the locals were at the furthest fire pit. She was relegated up here, a harem of sorts, where she, Flitwick's mother, and several other women of goblin and human descent slept.
The girl whispered a warning to Flitwick after she sent her elf to prepare the rest of the meal.
"She doesn't know about the rule against pork. There's a bit of sausage in there. Please tell me that goblins eat pig meat from time to time."
"Roasted, boiled, stewed, and any other way you can think of. We'll tell her. Tomorrow. That smells wonderful."
"I know that you like mushrooms."
"How many things grow well underground without sunlight? If a goblins didn't like mushrooms, then he would doubtless starve as mothers seem to have to use them in every dish."
She saw that he had taken the braid of hair he had given her, and wore it on his belt. Her heart skipped a beat. She would have to ask about that later, if it meant something that he wore it, but she hoped so.
As the meal was ready, Sarah begged the goblin to stay put. She guided her father to the table. A portion of the meal was set up for Flitwick's mother, with him carefully stealing all of the sausage bits from the stuffing before he left for a moment to bring it to her.
She was very traditional, and would not eat with the men. But other goblins mingled with the curse-breakers in little groups like this all over camp. Elsie was finally able to take a seat, at the very edge of the group, and eat at the same time if not exactly with them.
Flitwick looked at Lord Campbell. "You have had a difficult day, my friend. Tomorrow, we will hunt a wild ram and shed its blood in sacrifice for the spirit of your mate."
The man shook his head. "I cannot. My wife, my mate loved animals. She cried over them. She would eat fish and chickens but no other meat. I will do the ritual tonight. Sarah, you are too old to do this with me. It wouldn't be right. You do it in your tent with the security wards on.
Flitwick was confused. In the fading light of sundown, he could clearly see her deep blush.
"I'll explain after Sarah retires." Benedict Campbell decreed. "If you are finished Sarah, you are dismissed. Don't forget the wards, my dear. There are Bedouin raiders somewhere nearby."
"Thank you, my lord. I hope that you enjoyed the meal, Curse-Breaker. Thank you Elsie."
The men stood, and Flitwick bowed, she curtseyed, and returned to the tent followed by her elf.
The wizard and goblin took their seats. The father was not stupid, and had worked with the goblins for the better part of a half century on various projects around the world. He saw the token at the goblin's belt. And that was human hair. Since there were few single girls, and it was the same shade as his daughter's it wasn't a hard leap of logic to determine who had given him the love token.
"Courting for wizards is different for goblins."
"My mother has told me. Tonight, I was fed a meal that she hoped that I would like. She was right, it was very good. If I reciprocate in a few days, it shows that the interest is mutual. Are you sure that there are no challenges, no fights?"
"Her mother and I were betrothed very young, so as we grew up together, we already knew that we were going to be married. We were so different. The only thing we really liked in common was Sarah. And we agreed no betrothals for our daughter. No arranged ones, I mean."
The goblin nodded.
"I come from Britain too. We used to live under Hogsmeade, but that branch was closed when the Great War began. Goblins were afraid of being overrun by wizards coming into the tunnels to hide. A seer saw great danger from the sky, but it did not come to pass. Perhaps it will be sometime in the future, but I digress. I want to return home someday. Be near the great castle again."
Benedict looked at the goblin carefully. "She is not poor. I will not have my son killed, but unless he chooses a different path soon, he is on a course of self-destruction. I do not want to live long enough to have to bury my son, and I promised my wife no arranged marriages. But Liam will no doubt force her into something after my death. If she is not already married."
"I cannot keep my oath with you. There is a ritual that I need to do to break it. I pay you a sum, say 100 galleons. If you agree that is."
"What oath?" Lord Campbell demanded.
"I swore on my honor to protect you and your house and never raise an axe against it." The goblin explained.
"Oh, I see. Yes. This is awkward. Fine, I agree."
The goblin did something over the flames, and threw in an aromatic plant. He came back, unhappy because one did not forego oaths lightly. He handed over a small bag of gold coins to the wizard.
He was ready. The curse-breakers on this project were close. Sarah was the language and rune expert, but they all worked very well together. The oaths between them were important.
"What is the new oath?" The wizard asked.
"I agree to protect you and your daughter. On my honor. I so swear!"
He cut his hand on his axe, and held it out to the wizard before him. They shook, and the hand healed as the oath took.
"So, have you decided to court my daughter, warrior?"
"Not yet. I will discuss this with my mother. I will ask you your permission, as is your custom, based on what she says."
"Just to let you know, the answer would be yes."
"Now you've spoiled all of the fear that goes into that question!"
"May the gods of night, of war, of blood, and of thunder guide the spirit of your mate home to safely rest until you are one day escorted to be with her."
Lord Benedict Campbell nodded his head, and went into his own tent to begin a ritual he had been dreading for years.
"I told you that she would know that I wasn't a real lord!" Barium Goyle complained.
"It wasn't that! Mother and she have been exchanging letters for years. She's besotted by some local. We need to get her betrothed to you or one of my other friends before she marries someone else. I know that there is at least ten thousand galleons in that dowry!"
"That can buy quite a bit of firewhiskey, yes it can!" Goyle agreed. He no longer looked like his father, but was his normal ugly self again.
They were talking loudly in a British pub in a sector of town that was decreed to be British soil. Drinking was allowed, even if no one could get a bit of pork.
"Sorry to overhear, offendi, but it sounds like you could use some local help."
The man's smile was not at all nice.
"You want to marry a girl, how romantic. Perhaps she is behind wards? We can help with that. For a fee."
The men quickly retreated and pooled their money.
"How much?" The British wizard asked the local one.
"For a friend, five hundred galleons. You pay 100 upfront, the rest on delivery."
They didn't have that much, but once she was in their control, they could make her get money out of Gringott's! It was the perfect plan.
The man smiled. He listened to where the camp was, accepted the portkey and the ward stone that would get him to the tent of the father.
It was indeed the perfect plan.
Benedict went back to work the next morning. He looked sad but calm. Sarah had Elsie bring her library trunk out to the sheltered area. She couldn't wait for Selka to awake, but she was always late getting out of her tent.
Tonight's dinner would be a favorite of Flitwick's if she had to send for proscribed ingredients!
The next section that she was working on had a difficult array to translate. It was almost as if the runes were woven in the very borders of the hieroglyphs themselves. She stooped to pull out the next book when there was a sudden sound at the camp boundaries.
The wards were down!
She grabbed her wand, and shouted for Elsie. She ran to the front of Selka's tent, shouting a warning, but the enemies had moved fast.
There were a dozen men swathed in black head to foot that rode up on horses of the same color. Sarah had no chance. She was stunned and flung over the lead man's saddle, her elf stunned and left. The old goblin woman that had come out was mocked in some native tongue, and the men left quickly. Selka was not idle though. She woke the elf and had her go retrieve the curse-breakers.
She had not had time to talk to Sarah last night, but she and her son had talked. Long into the night. And while the goblin matriarch might prefer a goblin bride, she would rather have grandchildren of any flavor rather than none. Her husband's crime and shame would haunt his son for the rest of his life. What goblin maid would take him?
The people from inside the site returned, and the guards reported in.
"We knew that they were working nearby, but there were men inside before others crashed through the wards."
Benedict thought guiltily of the ward stone he had given his son in hopes that one day they would reconcile. He would not falter now though.
"I know how to track them, for a time at least. They'll doubtless ransom the girl. That's what they want."
Flitwick looked at the hair on his belt. He carefully took a few strands and gave it to his mother.
"Can you find her? Please? I will go with Benedict now."
"I will send the elf with where she is when I find her." Selka promised and went to work.
Sarah woke up to a man dressed all in black enervating her and running scans on her. She was then pushed into a tent where other girls were being kept. A couple of them were crying, she recognized one of the women from the camp. Natalia.
"Do you know what is going on?"
"Slavers! They dress up as Bedouin, you know, the good people who move their sheep and flocks from place to place. They are very hospitable and kind. If we were with them, we would have been shuffled off to be with their women, talking and drinking sweet tea and laughing. Sasha is going to be so angry!"
Natalia and Sasha were together. That curse-breaker was strong, and dark, and going to fall on these men like a hammer for taking his woman.
"It appears that they took all of the unmarried women." Sarah turned around. Dupree's daughter couldn't be fourteen! She was out of school on holiday. Sarah went to her.
"Did they take your wand, too?"
The girl nodded. None of them knew wandless magic.
Sarah was then dragged from the tent before she could ask the girl's name. Her veil was ripped from her head, and she stared into the eyes of her brother.
"One thousand, or she goes onto the block next."
"I don't have that much with me! I need to take her to Gringott's and she'll give you the money."
The man was clearly tempted to allow the attempt but didn't want to face the possibility of goblins attacking them.
"No, but she can sign a note for you to take."
They put parchment into Sarah's hand. "Withdraw a thousand galleons, and we turn you over to this man."
"What about the girl? And my friend, Natalia? How much for them?"
"A thousand each."
"Fine, but you had better send someone with Liam here, or he'll drink half of it before he gets back."
Sarah wrote fast. In goblin. The amount was clear, and she asked the man to poke her finger so she could add her blood to the note.
She did ask for the three thousand, but told them to mark a few pieces of gold as it was for ransom.
As Liam left, the man stroked her brown hair. "Such a shame to turn a pretty girl over to such a man. I wonder how he will use you." He said in soft tones in his native tongue.
She pulled away and put her veil back in place. "He's my brother. If he's smart, he'll turn me over to father."
The man laughed showing very bad teeth.
She was thrust into a chair of a sort to wait. Men kept trying to touch her hair, but never retaliated at her futile swipes. She could feel her wand nearby. Her one wandless spell was accio for said wand, but there were too many to attempt an escape. Besides, men like this would take the ransom and let them leave. She hoped.
Selka was confused by what she saw, but trusted in the magic. She sent a note with the elf girl to tell her son to go to Cairo Gringott's. The elf had watched the water's surface in fascination and agreed with the result. If she were less mystified as to the result, she gave no indication.
Flitwick was not surprised to see Liam there. But he couldn't kill him. He saw the small cask of gold handed over and the wizard was going to try to carry it! Oh, that was why. Theft. His sleight of hand might have been good enough for wizards.
Flitwick ran up bowing and scraping. "Honored customer, let me carry that for you. I take it to your destination."
"Right." Liam practically dropped it. Flitwick caught it, magically lightening the load. Liam's escort waited outside the bank. No reason to die in a goblin trial. They had strict rules about such things here.
To the slaver, all he saw was a goblin underling and the client. Good. They took a portkey back to camp.
A woman's scream pierced the air. Sarah turned towards the tent she had been pulled from. But there seemed to be nothing happening there.
"You'll be out of here soon. Such a shame. I almost hope that your brother keeps the money and leaves you to me. I might keep you for myself."
At that moment, three people popped in, and the man saw the relief in the woman's eyes. It did not come from her brother though.
Flitwick waited to be told where the gold was going before setting it down. The girl and Natalie were brought from the tent.
"This concludes our business."
The slaver turned the girls' wands over to Liam. No sense getting caught holding those after all.
Liam scowled, but he knew that there was seven thousand galleons left. He grabbed the women's arm, but not before Flitwick had passed a rune stone to her.
Flitwick looked around for a moment, memorizing faces. He activated his portkey without speaking a word or bowing. The man he had been staring out felt a goblin axe on his neck, and ordered the camp packed. He wanted to be away before noon.
He didn't know that the gold he had with them could be used to track them anywhere, and if he showed up with one of those coins that were marked in a bank, he would face goblin justice.
Goblins had no use for slavers, or slaves. They killed the first, and would just release the latter, if they could.
The three women were popped into an unsavory tavern. Two of them were surprised, one was not.
"I just rescued you, sister! I think that you should pay me a reward for that. Then we can get you and your friends back to camp."
"Alright, brother dear. I'll pay you a reward alright. But first, we see these two back to camp. Then we go to Gringott's together."
"No! Gold first, and then we go back."
Flitwick, Sasha, and Dupree all showed up at the same time. Liam and his friend were not happy with the intruders. Sasha ran up to Natalia. Their embrace was everything that Sarah wanted to be giving Flitwick right now. Dupree had his crying daughter in his arms.
"I rescued them! I did! I arranged for their release and it cost a very pretty sickle too."
Sasha growled at Liam. The camp was not just a group of strangers that worked together. People talked. "You rescued my Natalia? Then I owe you. I make sure you get everything you deserve."
He picked up his witch in powerful arms. Arms used to holding tools overhead for hours as a time. He disappeared. Dupree also vanished with his daughter.
That left Flitwick alone facing two very unhappy wizards. Flitwick had seen him open that cask, and knew that the full amount hadn't been paid. Shorting slavers, as long as the thief didn't take much, they would ignore it. If Liam took too much, he would be a marked man.
Not that he wasn't now. Not if he had slaver gold in his pocket. He was just marked by different people.
"You said that we would get enough gold to drink for a year! I lost my allowance for the month!"
Mr. Goyle was unhappy young man.
"Well, sister dear. It appears that you get your way after all. Let's go to the bank."
Flitwick smiled at that. He looked at Sarah. Her token was still on his belt. His smile was not at all kind.
"My dear girl, please tell me that he was adopted?" The goblin demanded.
"I wish I could."
"I challenge you to a duel, humon. Your choice of weapons! We fight! And if I win, I will take your sister to my tent where I will ravage her!"
Sarah paled, and clutched the neck of her robes. Oh my!
Liam looked at his sister and looked at his friend. He grabbed his arm, and activated their portkey home.
Sarah looked around in disappointment. She sniffed.
"Don't worry! You are the daughter of my friend. I would never ravage you!"
"I was worried about that." She mumbled under her breath.
"What was that?"
"Thank you for rescuing me. Slavers have three thousand of my galleons! I asked Gringott's to mark them, but other than telling my father, I don't know who to tell. Those people are scum! I wouldn't be surprised if Liam had something to do with today."
"Neither would I, my dear. Let's go see if new wards are yet up and talk to your father. When I found out you were taken, I must admit that I was worried about you."
"Yes indeed. Without you around, I would have to endure my mother's cooking."
He activated the portkey back to camp on her stifled protests.
Barium Goyle scowled at the 'bounty' that Liam shared. "Two hundred galleons? We gave them a hundred. We were robbed! We should go back and complain!"
Liam shook his head. "No, we need to let father die in an accident or something first."
"You can't murder your father! Magic won't allow it! Just like I can't murder mine!"
Liam thought about it. Ways around family magic. He needed a drink, desperately. He grabbed a handful of tiny delicate demitasse spoons with the family crest. This should be good enough for a bottle or two.
The house was eerily empty now that his mother had died. He would miss her, in a way. He guessed.
They left to go to Knockturn Alley and a fence that would give him five percent of what the silver was worth.
Sarah and the other two girls were able to tell the mostly coherent tale of their kidnap and rescue. Sasha had a thousand galleons in her elf's hand before the story was finished with kisses and hugs from both of them for Natalia's return.
"You could have just saved yourself!" Sasha said.
Flitwick growled. "No she couldn't. And she would never have left the child behind either."
Dupree tried to give her two thousand. She realized that she had to accept the thousand back, or it would haunt the others. But she wouldn't accept a knut more.
"Now my brother knows that I have gold here! He'll try again! And in a British court, he would just say that it was the slavers fault."
"Here too." Sasha spat on the ground. "Evil man."
Flitwick looked at the father, then at Sarah. "Split it with him. Tell him that if he swears on his magic to leave you alone that you will send him two thousand galleons. Combined with the three thousand, that makes five thousand. Half of your dowry."
She looked at her father. She thought about the consequences. Taking the repaid gold, she put it in a bag, and sent it to the family solicitor with a note and a fifty galleon fee. The standard for witnessing an oath. She wrote a quick letter.
"Elsie, don't stand around and wait for a reply. Pop in, drop it, pop out."
The elf nodded. It would be the next day before Liam found the note. The mess in the living room was not pleasant. But he couldn't see a downside to this easy money. Their sister that died as a baby was named Serena. In exchange for the two thousand galleons Liam swore that he would never cause harm or hire anyone to cause harm to Serena Campbell. The clerk at the law firm was a friend of a friend and hadn't really been paying much attention to the oath.
Liam pocketed the two thousand galleons, and thought of all of the ways of making those into ten thousand galleons. He needed to find his friend. They had some serious thinking and drinking and thinking to do!
Selka had her hand loom out, sitting outside. The pavilion had cooling charms going, and while the workers were gone, she could pretend it was just females around.
Sarah was making notes of all of Flitwick's favorite meals. Some she knew just from observation of course, but other she did not.
Some made her want to give up eating, forever, and just never think of meal preparation ever again.
But part of her duties was seeing to her father. And while they could and did occasionally buy pre-prepared food, fresh tasted better. Besides, it was sort of like potions, only the result tasted better.
Selka smiled at that comparison.
"I thought that Flitwick liked me!" Sarah nearly pouted. She was trying to focus on what she could do, and keep her mind off her mother.
"You think he doesn't?" Selka asked.
"No! It's just that I am courting him, or that is how I feel. If he doesn't want me, fine. But he protected me the other day. I just thought that, well, I don't know. He's growling a lot."
"Don't take that personally. When he was about thirteen, just before he came of age, his father was caught, along with other members of the clan in something. I don't know the details. I doubt he does. His father knew he was guilty of something, pled guilty before trial, and was beheaded quietly. No public shame, no fines. Flitwick should have been able to get an apprenticeship. But someone accused my son of helping! He was old enough to face justice. They should have questioned my husband about it, but it was far too late. Despite the trial that showed him innocent, whispers continued."
"Oh, how awful! This is why he hasn't fought for a goblin mate! He must hate me for my interest in him."
"Well, I'm like the booby prize. He can have me when he can't have what he wants. I'm so stupid! I should have seen it before! Thank you for telling me. I'll leave him alone. I just wish that there was a way of telling him that it doesn't matter to me. I want him for him. But he'll never want me. He'll never want me!"
Sarah ran to her tent, put up the privacy wards. She laid down on her bed, and let go of the tears that had been building for days. She cried about her mother, about being kidnapped by slavers, about everything.
When Flitwick came back, his mother was making stew. He looked around.
"You got far too much of your weaving done. Didn't she come by?"
Goblins were not supposed to call women not of their clan by their names. Unless they were promised, which he was confused about.
"She's upset. She doesn't think that you want her."
The goblin growled. He should have never said it! It was a line meant to frighten children, send the boy screaming home. But for a brief moment he had seen the desire in her eyes for him. She wanted to be flung over his shoulder and taken to his bed!
He was an idiot! A goblin female would have told him that his ears were too small, his nose too wide and short, his axe too dull. She would have insulted him about everything before spitting on him for not showing a return of interest after the giving of such a token. Why did he hesitate?
Because he was poor. He had little gold, little family honor, nothing to offer her. Nothing! And she was bright and funny and happy and kind and everything that he liked! He wasn't attracted to goblin females much. This girl was beautiful, and he had a recent view that was fueling very vivid dreams. He didn't know whether or not goblins and humans could have children. He thought so. He had asked around a bit, carefully. All he needed to do was provide her some dead vegetable matter. Or something that caused tooth decay. Or both. Or maybe a fatted suckling pig, roasted, and eaten at midnight away from the indigenous helpers that would be offended by unclean meat being consumed on their sacred soil.
His mother took his hand. "There are goblins the world over. There would be a goblin maid for you if you wanted one."
He bit off a vile swear. He honored the female who gave him life. "I want her!"
"No wonder you are growling at her then. Perhaps if the slavers had kept her for himself like he wanted to, you would be happier."
"He said that?"
"He did. He said that he wouldn't sell her if Liam didn't bring back the ransom. I'm surprised the details haven't reached the men. Sasha is going to marry Natalia this weekend. They would not have taken her if she was married."
Flitwick growled more. He couldn't talk to his mother about his problem.
He handed her a pouch of gold. "Glazed duck. I don't know where we can get it outside of the shop at Diagon. With all of the trimmings."
"And the rest of the items my son?"
The torturers at Gringott's would have had an easier time than her. His curt nod said it all. He went to dress in his finest armor. After he sharpened his axe. Again.
"What do you want? Barium is upstairs getting ready for the memorial."
"I wanted to pay my respects, Lord Goyle. I was sorry to hear about the death of your second wife."
"Hardly. My son knew that he would be disinherited the moment she gave me a son. He's upstairs chortling over his good luck. And you are here rubbing my nose in it. Get out."
"I brought you something to help alleviate the pain, my lord. I'm sorry that you feel the way that you do about me. I'm sad that I deserve it."
He offered the valuable bottle of aged alcohol with a flourish and bowed. He had to make sure that there were witnesses with Barium.
Everything was set.
Aurors were called to the house for the second time in a month. Liam was very clever, very smart. He had done everything without magic. He had the grease from the man's shoes cleaned up, the trip wire at the top of the stairs everything gone before the aurors were called. Before a different guest had found the body of Lord Goyle, his stomach full of aged whiskey, and alcohol on his breath, crumpled in a pile at the bottom of the staircase. His neck obviously broken.
Barium Goyle, for the second time that month, was taken into custody. His shock about his father's death appeared to be genuine. He willingly offered to take veritaserum or swear on his magic. But no one could prove anything about him, and they didn't have enough evidence to get Lord Campbell's son questioned, though some suspected him.
Liam knew that they needed to act fast. Lord Goyle's death was ruled a tragic accident, and on the day after his funeral, Liam had his friend back in Cairo, back into the back of a far too familiar sleazy pub.
"What are we doing here? I need to get ready for my first Wizengamot meeting."
"Just one moment. I have given you everything. We talked about this. How I couldn't get rid of my father, just like you couldn't get rid of yours. Shame about that accident, after all. Without that, we would be scrounging for drinking money soon."
"Wait! You were never questioned! You killed my father! That wasn't nice! He wasn't all bad you know!"
"He was going to remarry and disinherit you the first chance he got! Too bad wife number two never had a chance to have a baby."
"You killed her too! You're a monster Liam! A monster!"
The newest Lord Goyle removed a portkey and disappeared before Liam Campbell could object.
Lord Goyle went home and cried like a baby. He then made an appointment with the Chief Witch, and forever resigned his seat on the Wizengamot, and renounced his title.
The young former lord was a cad, and a lothario, and a liar and a gambler. He ate too much and drank too much, but he loved his father, and would never have killed him.
After that, Barium made an appointment with the chief auror, and told him everything.
Aurors had sent Lord Campbell a strongly worded letter. He had already disinherited his son, kicked him out of his house, closed all wards and properties to him, and more importantly, cut off the boy's weekly stipend.
Now the aurors wanted Lord Campbell to give the boy some money as a trap? Benedict was no traitor!
If they wanted him for crimes in England, then they could catch him.
Once a month, a few women from the camp would go into to town together to get supplies. As long as they followed local custom for dressing and deportment, it really wasn't an issue. They were welcome in the non-British controlled area with kindness and hospitality.
The women's market was full of chattering women and laughing children and happy merchants. Sarah made her orders, making sure to get several of Flitwick's favorites now that he was finally starting to return her interest.
She found a game with little pieces that were fascinating and bought that as well. He liked chess and logic puzzles. This could be fun.
Then Liam's elf showed up. Grandfather had given him to Liam so the family couldn't do anything about the nasty thing except complain. Did elves adopt the mien of their owners?
"Your master is in a lot of trouble…" Sarah began.
"So are you!" The elf said, disappearing with the girl.
Selka ran over to a nearby auror and reported what had happened and called for Elsie.
"Don't go yourself! Go tell Flitwick and Sarah's father." The goblin woman commanded.
Selka looked around. "Benedict should have acted when he could have."
Sarah looked up into the very dark eyes of a man whose name she didn't know but who haunted her nightmares nonetheless. The slaver!
Sarah wanted to demand where her brother was, but her wand was in his hand. She was terrible at defense, but this was twice now that she was in a situation where she wished that she had applied herself a bit better in lessons.
He ripped the cover from her head, and stroked her soft brunette hair.
"You have haunted my dreams for weeks! Imagine my surprise when I was able to buy you for such a small, small price. I would have paid more." He swatted parchment. "Mine to do with as I please. To marry you if I choose, or not. I think I like that thought. You, pregnant with my child, begging me to save your honor. I know your type." He pulled her hair back hard, forcing her to her knees. Tears of pain springing to her eyes.
"I don't get many maidens in my line of work. I need to think about you. How best to pluck this tender flower." He turned to two women kneeling near the door.
"Take her. Bathe her in rosewater. Prepare her for my tent." He commanded. A different wizard man-handled her to her feet, bruising her thin arm with his rough handling. He pushed her to the two slaves at the door.
"Stand guard nearby, just in case we are betrayed. I doubt we will be. One thousand galleons for her? I would have paid ten times that, but the brother seemed ready to pay me to take her off his hands. Idiot."
The men chuckled as the women left. They had no idea of what was about to happen after the women left and entered the bathing tent.
All three simply disappeared, two of them never to be seen by anyone there again.
Details of command had delayed the wizard's pleasure long enough. It was time! He was still debating what he was going to do when he entered the tent and found a note. He didn't think to check it first. It was a portkey, and he was transported to the middle of a vast desert with no one in sight but a lone goblin.
"I will give you one chance, humon, to beg for your life. You will tell me why you took the girl. You will beg to tell me how you took the girl. And then you will beg me to end your life. But for now, let us even the odds."
He summoned all of the wands that the man had on him. Seven. One or two might be his own, but he recognized Sarah's. The delicate vine carving that was so well done.
Suddenly the man was staked out flat, not a stich of clothing on. The sun was beating down upon his dusky skin. Without protection, he would be burned in minutes.
"It was only business. Nothing personal. If you want the girl, then take her. I paid a thousand galleons to her brother for her. I have the Bill of Sale. I have committed no crime other than upsetting a goblin. Tell me what I can do to make it right. You want me to tell you how? His elf brought her a portkey to our camp. Who, her brother, um, stranger name, I have it on the parchment at camp. Why did I take her? He asked me to take her, for a time I thought he was going to offer me money too, but someone he was with advised him to ask for money. Not the same man he was with before. Please, please, please let me go. My wife is with child, about to have a baby. She needs me."
"Ha! That last almost sounded sincere. You have a harem. None of them are pregnant. And I want to fight you in a fair fight. Can you use a blade, humon?"
"Yes, can you?"
His clothes were returned to the slaver.
The two were transported back to the camp where Flitwick's mother and Sarah were. Finally, a chance to show Sarah how he truly felt about her. Goblin style.
Flitwick barked orders to one of his men, and soon a variety of weapons was laid out.
"I challenge you to a duel, humon."
"I accept. And if I win, I keep the lovely girl."
"If you win, she chooses whether or not to go with you. That is the goblin way."
Flitwick picked up his own axe, the man chose a long scimitar and the fight began.
The two women had been trying to reassure Sarah that it was going to be alright. That he wasn't that brutal, rarely killed slaves, and as long as she submitted to him, he wouldn't hurt her too badly.
Their reassurances had her fear spiking higher than it had been.
Then, just as they were getting ready to get into the large lavish and sweet smelling bath, they were all three transported back to the tent of her father. Three men in invisibility cloaks started swearing. Two of the girls started to cry begging to be returned. One saw a pair of eyes looking into hers and she rushed to his arms.
Sarah shared her first kiss with the goblin that she had secretly loved for a long time, and he returned that kiss with all of the ardor and passion that he had for her.
"I need to punish the wizard who would dare touch you. Be brave, my heart. Close your eyes at the last strike if you need to, but watch me show you that I do care for you!"
The goblin disappeared without a whisper of sound.
The other two got very busy for a time, first by telling the girls in their native tongue to obey or they would be punished. They were given menial chores to keep them busy, but Sarah got changed in her finest robes. Something different was about to happen. She ran to tell Selka, and let her father know that she was back.
It was easy for the goblins to make a mini amphitheater for the fight. Wagers were being made all over camp. Lord Campbell sat next to his daughter, pale and very unhappy.
He was not worried about this fight. He was thinking that his son was going to be next.
Flitwick picked up his axe. The slaver was given time to pray just as Flitwick had done. He wore the token of her hair at his belt. The slaver finally saw it, and looking into the eyes of the goblin foresaw his death. He would try to kill the goblin first though.
The man swung the scimitar with practiced ease. He had grown up in the saddle and using a sword. It was magic that was new to him and his family. He was taken from his home at about ten years of age to train with a wizard. Unfortunately, that old man was killed in a slaver raid, and the boy was raised by slavers. He learned to use his magic to help his adopted father, and later start his own band.
Flitwick didn't have to duck the wide swipe. He chortled. This man had little skill with a blade, compared to goblins.
The fight, if one could call it that, was short and brutal.
The man was down on the ground, his hair in Flitwick's hand. He made a motion to Sarah to close her eyes, and she obeyed. In a strong stroke, the enemy was dispatched, and Flitwick had a prize head to preserve.
Lord Campbell staggered a few steps away to lose his last meal in the sand. The goblins were collecting money and congratulating Flitwick. His mother looked at him with pride. The goblins appeared to be waiting for Sarah.
She walked over, ignoring the blood and filth in the sand, and bowed to Flitwick. "You have redeemed my honor. I offer you this token in gratitude for the defeat of an enemy. Please accept this gift as it comes from my heart."
His mother and she hadn't had much time. She took a braid of her hair, and wove several very expensive gems in it. She said that for a wealthy goblin maid, it was a sort of dowry. She shrugged. Sarah didn't understand but she smiled and did what she needed to do.
Her father couldn't object. She had used gems from the ugliest of her mother's pieces. Jewelry that hadn't been worn in over a hundred years.
Lord Campbell knew that the goblin deserved more than that.
"As you were sold to this man, I now claim you by right of combat. But it is not the goblin way to take slaves so I free you. I want you to be mine."
"Then, with the permission of my father as my head of house, I will be yours. Father?" Sarah looked at him.
The man looked at the carnage and agreed that she would be safe with this man, goblin, warrior.
"I agree. Let me speak with the elders, and we will have a ceremony that honors your traditions." Lord Campbell agreed.
Before running behind the tiered seats to vomit a bit more.
"Flitwick, may I talk to you a moment?" Lord Campbell looked at the Gringott's draft and shook his head.
"Yes, my friend?"
"I have spoken to your mother. We both agree that even if Britain allows your children to inherit your gold, they will never allow a half goblin on the seat of the Wizengamot. Rather than risk Liam or any of his illegitimate spawn from trying to gain the seat, I've sold everything. The seat, the title, the manor. I kept the library and the portraits. I have a hundred and fifty thousand galleons for you. It isn't a lot, but it is enough for a solid start. Your children are guaranteed to be accepted at Hogwarts. I've already put them down, and prepaid for the first two."
"I'm sure that I must be a disappointment in comparison to a wizard?" Flitwick ask.
"Not at all. Look at my son! Raised with every advantage I could give him. I didn't go out into the field until he was thirteen. And even then, I was only away when he was at school. No, he made bad choices of his own."
"I am sorry that I couldn't kill your son, my future mate's brother. I just couldn't. It wouldn't be right. But he is serving his sentence."
"Will you tell me what you did?"
"I did nothing. Goblin justice was served. I do not believe that you want to know the details, my lord. For all intents, your son is dead, and will never bother anyone ever again."
Goblins are excellent at transfiguration. They held a goblin trial for Liam Campbell. He was convicted of selling his sister into slavery. His punishment was to be transfigured into a reasonable facsimile of his sister, his magic taken away and given back to the slavers. The two women that wanted to return were given treatment, but one still wanted to return. So two women were returned, and the other was seen back to her family.
Flitwick thought about how his life had changed in just a few months. Ten new library trunks were now being transported here and there by anxious elves. Elsie had the pleasure of watching Liam's elf get clothes as goblins don't keep slaves. Elsie accepted her new wage of a galleon a month and became a free elf too. Of a sort.
There was just one loose end.
Selka's look had Sarah worried. "Please talk to me. I don't have my mother here."
"Why are you in mourning robes?" She asked.
"Oh. These are witch's wedding robes. I can change the color, the style, anything to make you happy." Sarah reassured her.
"My son is a new person. He is so happy. Laughing. I heard him laughing! Goblins have been hearing how he took out a slaver without repercussions from wizards. Thank you my dear. Tell me, do you really want children."
"I really do. Didn't he tell you that we want to start a family right away? I'm going to be twenty next month! I'm ancient!"
The mother laughed and helped the witch with her robes.
"So how long have you loved my son?" She asked.
"I think I knew for sure when he killed that sand monster that attacked the camp. Before then I wasn't sure."
"But you had just arrived not a month before! You couldn't have been seventeen!"
"Fifteen. I know. I didn't say anything! I tried to hide it for a long time."
"You do love him?"
"I know. Humans are different. We show our love differently. But I want him in my life, I miss him when he is gone, I dream of him at night, and yearn for his kisses, his touch."
"That sounds like love to me mother." Flitwick said, coming into the bridal tent.
"Flitwick! You can't see me right now!"
He quickly closed his eyes. "How am I to escort you to the ceremony without looking at you?"
"Fine!" Sarah huffed.
He opened his eyes, and before him was a witch that he wanted in his life. He missed her when she was gone. A witch that haunted his dreams at night. The lady that he yearned to kiss, yearned to touch.
"It is time for us to process."
"And then we fight the mock battle?"
"No. Ceremony, feast, mock battle, and I carry you off to bed."
His mother stepped out of the tent, and the privacy wards prevented anyone hearing her comment back.
"Couldn't we skip all of that and just go straight to the ravaging?"
"Patience my dear one. I promise you, I will make you mine before the night is done."
And with that, the goblin and witch strode out to be married.
Goblins and humans could indeed have children. The evidence of that was in a wriggling bundle of ears and adorable long fingers that needed to grasp onto family and hold on for dear life.
"He's perfect." The goblin healer said. The mediwitch sniffed. She had been hired, at great expense, to oversee that birth. She had no idea that the baby to be born was a mongrel that should have been killed! She said nothing, did her scans, and administered the final potion to the mother. Her Oath would not allow her to hurt the baby, even if it was for the good of Britain.
Several years later, when it was time for their son to attend school, the family moved back to Britain. They bought a house in Hogsmeade that was directly over one of the old tunnels from the bank that used to be in the village. It wouldn't be hard to build a basement and connect to that, just in case the seers from the bank were right.
Sarah followed her dream, and did get a job teaching charms at Hogwarts. She taught there until her son was old enough to become first her apprentice, and then take over the job.
The family continued to do curse-breaking on holidays all over the world.
And while they never married, Benedict Campbell and Selka remained close friends all of the rest of their lives, working on digs all around the world.
As for Sarah and Flitwick, they named their son Filius, and let him have a human like last name of Flitwick. Filius Flitwick taught charms for many years, the half-goblin with his parent's happy nature. He was taught both goblin and human culture, and would one day help the boy-who-live learn his place in the wizarding world.
But that is a story for another day.