Disclaimer: I do not own anything save for my own ideas. First chapter belongs to Lunarwolf11021

BloodyKitsune1997: Not quite to my usual length, but I wanted to get this out there since I haven't updated in a month.


ThunderClaw03: I'm glad you liked the chapter. Maybe, but who knows just yet. We'll just have to see.

Jostanos: Pretty much though only time will tell when it will happen. Maybe, maybe not, that is indeed the question, is it not?

Penny is wise: I'm glad you liked it.

Chapter 13

After the first few weeks of Hogwarts, the Mounted Guardians fell into an easy routine. Evan and Cain spent time negotiating with the goblin clans. Tsuki and Malcom spent much of their time running around the country side looking into rumors while tracking down dark magic. Lyra and Taylin spent time with the students of Hogwarts as well as Lilac when the child managed to get Sirius to bring her to school. Lyra's general attitude towards children made her a favorite of the younger years especially when she showed them some of the games played by the children of Delllea. The fact that she was slowly corrupting them to abandon the pureblood supremacy bullshit and their views of magic saw Taylin laughing himself sick. The older years took a shine to the fey that acted as their main teacher. The pureblood and half-blood nobles found a teacher that understood certain concepts and traditions as well as observed certain protocols only known to nobles. Those looking to become healers spent quite a bit of time picking Taylin's brain, Lyra ended up having him create a healers club with Madam Pomfrey joining him in order to keep random students from bugging them when they were trying to spend time together.

Lyra spent time with Sirius and Remus once they made it clear they wouldn't bring up certain subjects. She enjoyed getting to know them better and knew that she could definitely see them as family when they proved themselves. Sirius loved those that he saw as family and guarded them with a fierceness that reminded her of a Vessca protecting their young. Remus was a worn down man that struggled with his inner wolf, but didn't let that stop him from trying to live. Both of them cared a lot about Lilac, Chris, and Warren which put them above the regular Englishmen in her eyes, they acted a lot like the fey when it came to family even if it was hard for them to show it due to her dame and sire's actions after that fateful Halloween Night.

It was very surprising when most of the Pureblood students that were from families with noted links to the Death Eaters keeping their heads low. The greatest surprise came from Draco Malfoy though Lyra supposed it had to do with his mother. After all, Narcissa Malfoy came from the Black family. The Blacks had once been firm members of the Order until they stopped producing people with the ability to connect with Vessca or Wyverns. Despite that fact, they remained aware of some Order secrets though certain members like Sirius weren't due to the fact they didn't really care about their fully history. To be quite honest, she had to wonder if her Black heritage played some part in her being able to bond with Karth.

When October 7th came, the Mounted Guardians that had been absent returned only for all of them to go silent the next day. While Umbridge and some of the teachers tried to figure out what was going on, the students and teachers that tended to sit in on the Mounted Guardian's class knew what October 8th was. The Day of the Fallen was interesting to many of the students though none of them really wanted to try it. They understood that some traditions weren't meant to be observed by outsiders.

When Lyra woke up, she slowly got out of bed feeling the heavy weight of grief settle over her. She went about getting ready for the day before kissing Taylin's cheek and picking up the small bag she'd packed last night. Taylin hugged her lightly before letting her leave the room. Walking through the castle, she headed towards the stables to grab Karth as well as a few just in case weapons. After saddling up and pausing to nod at Evan, she left the grounds of Hogwarts for the first time since her arrival. They didn't go too far since the lay of the land was still a bit fuzzy, but it was far enough away that she was unlikely to encounter anyone until sunset when she'd return to spend the night with her pack.

Once she reached the secluded clearing not far from the mountain that rested by Hogwarts, Lyra got off of Karth's back and cast a few wards to ensure their safety. Grabbing her bag, she began pulling a few things out. A few sticks of incense, two incense holders, a few matches, a framed photograph, and a small bag filled with ash. She created a make-shift alter with some of the loose stones around her with the framed photograph at the center with the small bag of ash just in front of it. She set up the incense holders with some of her incense before striking one of the matches and lighting the incense. As the scent smoke began to form, she settled into what most would probably call a prayer position and closed her eyes as she began to mouth the blessings that she'd been taught a long time ago.

When the prayers were done, Lyra settled into a proper sitting position with her back pressed into Karth's warm scales as tears slowly began to run down her cheeks. She looked at the photograph which was one of the few she had of her mentor and the only one that contained her mentor's partner. Eliza Silver and her Gaia Born Vessca partner Alexandra. Eliza Silver had been a beautiful half-fey with wispy brown curls and bright red specked golden eyes that glowed depending on her emotions. She'd had the most gorgeous mocha colored skin. Alexandra had been one of the odd albino Gaia Born Vessca that bore dark purple lined pale green scales. She'd had the most beautiful pupil-less jade green eyes and the longest tail she'd ever seen on a Vessca. Temper wise, the two had been as diffrent as night was to day though that was probably for the best. Where Eliza was a hard-ass terror to most people, Alexandra was as sweet as candy unless it was a mission or you angered her.

Lyra settled her hand on Karth's head as he let out a low whine though she said nothing. Despite the years that had passed by, the pain was still as sharp as ever on a day like this. She wondered how they would have reacted to everything that had happened since they died on that mission. Mentally, she began telling the two what had happened since last year when she'd done this.

When sunset came, Lyra was mentally and emotionally exhausted though it didn't take away from just how much lighter she felt. She'd properly mourned the child she'd lost before its existence had been made known. She would never fully get over it, but the pain wasn't quite so bad now. Putting out the sticks of incense that were still burning, she packed everything away and pulled herself onto Karth's back. Once she was settled, they made their way back to Hogwarts where she was joined by her pack at the gates. All them had red rimmed eyes and looked as exhausted as she felt though no one made any comments on the fact. Instead, they just made their way towards the stables to settle down for the night.

Hagrid looked at them from his hut, but made no move to approach. To Lyra's somewhat morbid amusement, it began to rain as they reached the stables. It was going to be a stormy night and given that it was a day/night of mourning, it fit the general mood to a T despite no burials being made that day.

By lunch on the 9th of October, Lyra felt ready to take her butter knife and drive it through Umbridge's big mouth. The Toad hadn't stopped badgering her since she'd shown up for breakfast alongside the rest of her pack. One small mercy was that the Toad wasn't annoying the hell out of her pack and provoking the more hot headed members into attacking, but it was a near thing. While she could be patient, she only had limited patience after the Day of the Fallen which was why it was becoming hard to contain her more violent urges. Taking a deep breath through her nose, she cut the Toad off mid-sentence, "Madam Umbridge, I have told you already what happened yesterday. We were observing the Day of the Fallen which is the one day a year we of the core can properly mourn those we have lost."

"Be that as it may, you left castle gro-" Umbridge began only for Lyra to cut her off.

Lyra's patience snapped, "Madam Umbridge, we have our reasons for being off castle grounds and the Headmaster has already cleared us as we informed him of our plans over a month ago in advance. You are not a member of the administration that we're required to answer to nor would we answer to you if you were as you weren't the one that hired us," She glared at Umbridge as Tsuki choked at her venomous tone seeping through the polite one she'd been using, "If you have such a hard time accepting our answer, perhaps you should speak with Headmaster Dumbledore though I doubt it will help seeing as you seem to be deaf," She stood up, "I will be going for a run with Karth."

With that, Lyra left the Great Hall with most of the student body staring after her in awe and her pack-mates giving Umbridge looks of disbelief. It took a lot to get her to openly insult someone outside of the teasing ones she exchanged with Lucas. The fact that Umbridge had managed it told them that the Toad wouldn't be making it through the year if the bitch managed to actually piss her off. Not even Taylin was willing to piss her off despite enjoying seeing her angry, she could be as brutal as her mentor had been when pissed off.

When Lyra returned, she felt somewhat less homicidal though not enough to deal with Umbridge. Instead, she focused on finishing those staves that she'd been neglecting in favor of getting settled at Hogwarts and getting a feel for the general state of the English Magical community. It was calming to focus on creating something and fairly enjoyable to exercise her control over fire magic. Karth was happy to help especially since he was used to her using his innate fire magic when she was making something. It was one of the things that her teachers in all things crafting had been happy to abuse since the weapons created during this process were far more powerful and durable than those made through usual means. Sure, it was a bitch to carve the runes and cast the spells over the metal when Karth was powering the fire, but it was more than worth it especially once she figured out how to manipulate the fire to suit her needs.

Since the staves were a mix of metal and wood, Lyra had to be extra careful and specially treat the wood if only to insure it didn't lose its durability when exposed to fire. Even with the wood being resistant to the elements, it didn't change the fact that it could still be turned to ash if exposed to a hot enough flame. As a fire born Vessca that had been hatched and raised inside an active volcano, it was child's play for Karth to turn it to ash if he so wished. Thankfully, she'd done this before though it would be the first time her pack would be receiving the staves rather than the newest batch of trainees.

It took almost two weeks for Lyra to make all the staves properly as well as customize them for their intended user which was something new to her since she'd never had to customize staves like these before. She had to get some extra materials because of some failures that had occurred during the whole process. By the end of it, she was absolutely exhausted, but very proud of herself as she handed each of her pack a new staff. Malcom whistled in appreciation as he twirled the staff around, "Definitely leagues better than the old one. I actually feel a connection to it."

"You should since I used some of those feathers you've shed to make it," Lyra yawned softly wanting nothing more than to take a shower and go to the wonderful bed that was waiting for her, "I also added a bit of blood to lock it to you as well as bind it to your magical signature. On the off chance you somehow lose it, you should be able to summon it to you,"

"So that's why you wanted some fur, a tooth, and our blood," Tsuki realized earning a slow nod from Lyra, "That makes me feel a lot better about it all,"

Thanks to magic and potions, Lyra was able to take a tooth from each of her pack members as well as some hair/fur/feathers and blood to ensure that the staves would be perfect for their user. The process of integrating the materials into the staves was similar to the process focus makers used to make a focus. It wasn't easy though and you had to have perfect control over you magic when you did it. She was grateful that the Core enforced control exercises as a part of getting each member ready for Resonance since you could do quite a bit of damage to yourself and your partner if you didn't have good control. As a crafter, she had to have perfect control over her magic in order to make anything useful.

Despite the somewhat insulting comment, Lyra didn't do much more than shrug. It was dangerous to give anyone your blood especially if they were magical since it could be used to fuck you over in so many ways it wasn't funny. She looked at Taylin as he set a hand on her shoulder, "Tay?"

"Go take your shower, I'll get some food for you from the elves and make sure they give Karth a bit extra to make up for the lack of proper sustenance during your whole crafting process," Taylin looked like he wanted to scold her though knew better than to try.

When a crafter found a project, they didn't care about things they deemed insignificant like sleep, proper food, and personal hygiene. Lyra at the very least ate so long as you put something where she could grab it though she tended to ignore anything other than finger foods that required little more than grabbing and stuffing in her mouth. Taylin and her pack had long since gotten used to dealing with her when she was working on a project. Taylin tended to douse her food and drink in nutritional potions to keep her healthy while doing the same to Karth when her partner took a break while she was doing things that didn't require fire. So despite how much he really wanted to scold her, Taylin didn't as it wouldn't do any good.

Lyra took a long shower as she carefully scrubbed all the dirt, grime, ash, and sweat off of her body. She made sure to use the special shampoo and conditioner that would repair any damage to her hair caused by lack of cleaning and very high temperatures. As soon as she was dried off and dressed in her night clothes, she left the bathroom and dug into the meal Taylin had the elves bring. After she finished eating and took the potion Taylin usually had her take after a session like this, she brushed her teeth and finally allowed herself to sleep properly for the first time in almost two weeks.

Chris was surprised when Taylin answered his sister's mirror rather than Lyra, "Taylin?"

"Hello, Chris," The prince looked tired, "Lyra's currently resting for the first time in almost two weeks,"

"What?!" Chris wondered how the hell she'd managed that while also praying she'd be alright, "Why?"

"She's a crafter and they tend to ignore everything around them when working on a project," Taylin's tone was as dry as a desert showing just how much he liked that idea, "Before you say anything, we can't stop her when she gets like this. We've tried and failed,"

Well that explained it even if Chris didn't really understand what being a crafter really meant. He got that way when it came to practicing new moves on a broom, "I kind of get it now. I get that way when it comes to practicing new moves on a broom though it's definitely transferring over to flying with Sylvia."

Taylin snorted in amusement, "Makes me wonder if it's a family trait," He shook his head, "She'll be fine in about three days give or take a few hours. May I ask what you need?"

"I was just hoping to talk with Lyra a bit and get to know her better," Chris was a bit bummed out that he couldn't have his usual talk with Lyra, "I'll tell Warren and Carter when I see them that she's going to be out of it for a few days,"

"Thanks," Taylin looked a bit relieved.

"Everything okay over there?" Chris had to ask simply because Taylin looked like he could sleep for a week.

Taylin nodded tiredly as he ran a hand through his slightly mused hair, "Nothing that I can't handle, Lyra's better at keeping our pack fairly well-behaved than I am. Since the others want to wait until after Lyra has fully recovered and we can go over our findings so far, no one really wants to leave."

Chris smiled at that since it showed his sister had found herself a good group of friends/family. He wondered what their places in a family would be though he supposed that was something he'd have to ask his sister or Carter since they knew everyone better. He leaned into Sylvia as his partner shifted a bit, "I'm glad to hear it," Taylin gave him a confused look, "I'm glad to know that my big sister has people willing to look out for her despite what our parents did."

"You'll find that it's common for those inside the Corp to band together much like how our pack is," Taylin smiled lightly, "If you need anything, you need only ask, Chris. The same thing with Warren, Hermione, and Ron. While we may not be as close to you as your sister is, we are her pack mates which means you're part of our family even if not members of the pack,"

Chris felt something in his chest ease as he realized that, yes, Taylin meant it. Sure, Lyra had said much the same before, but it meant more to hear it from someone other than her, "Thanks, Taylin. I should probably let you go."

"No problem," Taylin smiled at him, "Have fun and don't let anything bring you down, Chris,"

With that, the mirror call cut off and Chris looked at Sylvia as she nuzzled him lightly. He could see part of the reason why Lyra loved Taylin. The fey prince was nice and had this air about him that made you relax. He supposed that also made Taylin an effective healer too since it would make his patients relax and actually tell him what's wrong. He spoke as Sylvia radiated curiosity, "I'm glad that Lyra has someone like Taylin and her whole pack. I hope that I can find someone like that eventually."

Sylvia gifted Chris a look that he easily translated as, 'Well duh!'.

Chris snorted as he put his mirror away, "Let's go find Warren and Carter, they need to know what's going on with Lyra."

Chris stood up and Sylvia shifted into position allowing him to climb onto her back. While they had been given saddles, Chris preferred not using his especially when he wasn't planning to ride her for long. Sylvia left her cave and took off towards the ground. He slid off of her back and they made their way through the training facility towards the Vessca area where he knew his younger brother would be. Walking through the halls filled with Mounted Guardians and Dragon Riders, he ignored the looks of disgust being directed towards him by some of them. He'd gotten used to such looks since coming to Delllea. While they weren't something he liked, he understood that humans needed to prove themselves especially if they came from England.

Soon enough, they made it to where Carter and Warren were staying with the rest of their unit. Silence fell as he opened the door, Carter broke it as a wide grin appeared on his face, "Hey, Chris! What's up?"

"Lyra's going to be out of contact for about three days," Chris answered earning a frown from Warren.

Warren put down his book, "Why? What happened?"

"She ended up finding a project, didn't she?" Carter asked earning a confused look from Warren as Chris nodded, "Lyra's a crafter like me only she works with the smiths whereas I work with clothes. When we find a project, we enter a state of mind where nothing save for the project matters until it's done," Carter frowned a little, "I wonder why she was working on a project since Lyra doesn't usually do that during missions,"

"Taylin didn't say why and I didn't think to ask," Chris would definitely be asking Lyra when she woke up.

"Someone probably managed to piss her off," Carter shook his head lightly, "Did you just come down here to tell us that or something else?"

"I wanted to spend some time with my younger brother and get to know you better," Chris replied earning an easy grin.

Carter patted the floor beside him, "Sure! Do you mind if I take a closer look at Sylvia? I've been wanting to since I saw her."

"Uh, sure," Chris took the seat as Sylvia settled in front of Carter, "Did you guys finish everything today?"

"For the moment, we've got some nocturnal classes, but those start after sunset," Carter took out a sketch book and began to draw Sylvia.

"Have you had any night classes yet?" Warren asked as he settled beside Chris.

Chris shook his head, "No...well, not any practical ones just yet since they don't trust us not to crash into each other when it gets dark."

Warren snorted, "Like what happened when Ron was staying over and you two wanted to do some late night Quidditch practicing?"

Chris' cheeks turned pink as Carter paused and gifted him with a raised eyebrow, "Seriously?"

"It was Ron's fault!" Chris glared at his brother while wondering how the hell he knew about that since he'd sworn Ron and the house elves to secrecy, "And how would you know about that?"

Warren smirked at him, "Late night reading in the library."

Chris wanted to either bang his head on the wall or crawl into a cave on some distant mountain to never be seen again as snorts of laughter sounded from the members of his brother's unit. Warren just grinned at him as Carter about bust a gut laughing and someone commented, "Ah, the sweet sight of a younger brother embarrassing their elder."

When Lyra was finally able to wake up and function without passing out randomly, she went to breakfast with Taylin. Headmaster Dumbledore smiled at her as they walked in as the Great Hall was slowly beginning to feel, "Feeling better, Lyra?"

"A bit though it'll take a few more days for me to return to normal," Lyra was a bit touched by his concern, "I hope my absence hasn't caused much stress,"

"Not at all though many of the students were concerned with your absence," Dumbledore answered earning a slight flush from her, "I assume your project turned out well?"

"It did," Tsuki grinned as she walked up, "It works perfectly!"

Lyra was relieved by those words, "Good though if there's any problem, just tell me."

"Will do, Alpha," Tsuki mock saluted her before going to their table.

Lyra's stomach rumbled causing a slight flush to coat her cheeks, "If you'll excuse me, Albus."

"Of course," Dumbledore waved her off with a smile, "Don't let me keep you from eating when you're clearly hungry,"

Lyra went to her usual seat and sat down heavily with a soft yawn. Taylin frowned at her, "Are you going to be able to stay awake today?"

"I'll be fine," Lyra honestly felt better than she had since they arrived in England, "Do we have a class scheduled after lunch today?" Taylin shook his head, "Then we'll meet up in the stable and talk about our findings so far,"

No matter how tried Lyra still felt, they couldn't slack off anymore than they probably already had with her project. They might have a year to do their work plus whatever the higher ups might give them if they needed more time, but slacking off wasn't something they could do on their first mission as active Mounted Guardians.

Lyra looked at her pack members carefully as they entered the stables. Each of them showed those little signs she knew meant they'd been worried about her. Tsuki was shifting a bit anxiously. Malcom was watching her with slightly narrowed eyes and a slight grimace. Evan's eyes were glowing faintly and his eye-teeth had lengthened a bit showing his inner beast was close to the surface. Cain was scenting the air in her direction every few moments and his pupils were flexing a bit. Taylin looked tired and his lips thinned while he watched her. For two weeks, they'd worried about her which left a bad taste in her mouth even as it warmed her heart.

Lyra sometimes hated how she got when a project came up, but there wasn't anything she could do to change it. It was a quirk every crafter had and managed to show people just where their true passion lay. She pushed those thoughts back once everyone was sitting with their partners, "Let's go over what we have so far, Malcom, Tsuki, what are your findings?"

Tsuki spoke first, "I managed to catch the scent that tacky tattoo let's off. So far, I've managed to track nineteen diffrent people down and found three noble houses," She smiled a bit as her eye gleamed at the fact she'd had a successful hunt, "Once we found those, we marked them down on the map though it'll be up to Cain and you to figure out what wards they have up since I don't really recognize them. Evan will probably be able to figure them out."

"I've managed to get good pictures of those marked with the tattoo," Malcom added as she turned to him, "I've taken pictures of the noble houses and the residences of the other marked if they didn't go to the noble houses. I've managed to also take a survey of the ambient natural magic in the areas as well as a survey of the magic coming off of the residences. As far as I've been able to discover, none of them are older than three hundred years old. The oldest belongs to the Malfoy's and has only been a magical residence for around 299 years as far as I'm able to tell,"

"Good job, both of you," Lyra was happy that they'd managed that much, "Once you've shared those items, we'll look over them and decide what to do. Have you both done your purification rituals?"

The rituals were annoying, but prevented certain magics from taking hold. Malcom and Tsuki nodded prompting her to focus on Evan. Evan spoke with a pleased smirk on his face, "The goblins have sent their agreement to our negotiations and will likely contact the King by Midwinter about a treaty between us. As we speak, they're searching through all the vaults and soon we'll have our hands on a Horcrux with which I'll work my magic on to track down the rest. They've also agreed to give the Order and the King two thirds of the contents of each vault that comes up with one."

"Not too shabby," Lyra hoped they found one soon, "Cain?"

"Outside of a few problems with some wizards, we've been fine," Cain answered.

"Good," Lyra relaxed a bit, "So far, I've managed to get the lower years to act like the children they are as well as start thinking outside the box the adults have placed them in. The Slytherin house is harder to crack than the rest, but I've been managing it,"

"They're not bad students," Taylin said earning looks of disbelief, "Some of them are, but the rest aren't bad. Once you move past the blood prejudice and their lack of understanding when it comes to what magi really is, they're pretty good students,"

"So what now?" Tsuki asked Lyra curiously, "I mean once you've fully recovered from your crafter haze,"

Lyra thought about it carefully, "First, we need to write a report of all our findings so far," They nodded to her, "Evan, do you need to speak with the goblins anymore?"

Evan shook his head, "Not until they finish going through the vaults which will likely take a few weeks."

"Then I believe it's time we switch things up a bit," A plan formed in Lyra's mind, "The Minister has been wishing for a meeting and it's about time that I gave him what he wanted which will likely cause a stir. Evan, Cain, I do believe it's time to put those spying skills of yours to work," Both smirked at her words, "Tsuki, Malcom, I want you take over the classes when we can confirm a meeting. It's about time we give them one of those special lessons,"

Tsuki groaned, "Do we have to?" Lyra offered her a look earning a groan, "What would we even be teaching them?"

"Navigating?" Malcom suggested earning a few surprised looks, "It's one of the basic things we know and there's a lot to it that doesn't even start to encroach on Order specific stuff,"

Smiling as she thought it over, Lyra told him, "That's perfect, Malcom. Good idea."

Malcom grinned at her, "Thanks, Alpha."

Despite being a prankster that relished in chaos, Malcom did have good ideas once in awhile. Lyra focused on Evan as the werepanther asked, "Alpha, is it really a good idea to go into the Ministry?"

"We need to get some idea of just how deeply these Death Munchers are rooted," Lyra replied as Karth laid his head in her lap, "If we're going to terminate them as per our mission, we need to know who they are, who they make contact with regularly, who is likely also a Death Muncher, and the like," She looked at each of her pack members seriously, "I know that you don't want to hear this, but I believe that we may need assistance when it comes to killing the sheer number of the Death Muncher forces,"

"It will look better on our record if we acknowledge that we need help and show that we're willing to ask for it," Taylin added earning a few nods.

None of them really want to let another squad join in on their first actual mission, but they could admit when something was too big for them to deal with. Even if the Death Eaters were less skilled then them, they might have the number needed to actually make this hard on them. As their first official mission, it would look better on their record if the rookies understood their limits rather than try for glory and end up hurt. They had far too many eyes on them to be able to make mistakes that most rookies did which really sucked sometimes if it would give future units like them an actual chance.