A/N: As you can tell this is an AU story. You will recognize some characters from HP and anyone you don't recognize is mine. I'd like to give credit to the Inkheart trilogy which helped shape this story a bit and also to Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe (both series are great books btw, I recommend you read them) which gave me some great ideas. So anything you may recognize from either, I credit them with it. Once again, anything else you don't recognize is mine.

Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling nor Cornelia Funke nor Tamora Pierce whom I thank for giving me many wonderful ideas that helped shape this story.

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Once upon a time . . . there lay four kingdoms in a distant land. Fair Ravenclaw to the north, surrounded by mountains where game was not hard to find. In the east lay Hufflepuff with its bountiful farmland. In the west was Gryffindor, sunny shores and calm oceans blessed this land with plenty of fish. And in the south was Slytherin. Ruled by darkness it had the fiercest warriors any land has seen. In the early days, when the land was newly formed, there were four rulers sent to guard the lands. Wise Rowena, Queen of Ravenclaw, was always quick with her bow, she graced her friends with bountiful game. Brave Godric, King of Gryffindor, was quick on the sea, never coming back empty handed. He introduced his friends to the taste of fish and other sea life. Fair Helga, Queen of Hufflepuff, worked all year long, the hardest of them all, she gave them the taste of sweet fruit and wonderful vegetables that she created herself. Then there was the cunning Salazar, King of Slytherin. He brought to his friends, new and different ways of thinking. Never did he lift a finger to help survive, he stole and cheated his friends of all they had. After years of arguing, the four friends split, never speaking to each other.

For many years, the kingdoms, ruled by their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on, lived amicably, trading when necessary. It was when the Prince of Slytherin, a young boy named Tom, took the throne. He ruled his kingdom in darkness. He never cared for the smaller people and only looked after himself. He grew into a vain man, changed his name to what he thought only a strong ruler would be called. He called himself Voldemort, a name that one day, most people would be fearful to say. For years, Voldemort married only the prettiest girls of the land, hoping that one day he would have a male heir who he could instruct and have take over the kingdom. For many years he tried, but all of his wives gave him daughters. Unhappy with this, he had the mothers beheaded and his daughters disowned and cast out. As the years wore on, he grew old and tired. Fearful of what would happen if he passed, he began searching for ways to stay young forever. To be immortal was his greatest wish. In his old age, he became an even more ruthless ruler. When one of his advisors would return with bad news, he would immediately hang him on the gallows, as a warning for all bearers of bad news.

Voldemort feared the Dementors, or the Sons of Death. There were rumors that they visited him at night, haunting his dreams when he slept, reaching out for him with their cold, dead, scaly fingers. There were many nights he would wake up the entire castle and order a feast to be prepared, anything to keep him awake. And if he was to be awake and fearful, so should the rest in his castle. Why should they sleep peacefully in their warm beds when he, the King, was so close to death. It was on one of these such nights that he met her. Susan. She was the beautiful daughter of a noble staying in the castle at Voldemort's request. It was her golden hair that first caught his attention. The way it danced in the moonlight captivated him. When their eyes met, her crystal blue with his pale green, he felt a shiver run through his spine. He was elated when he saw her subtle blush before she hid behind her hair. It was only months later that the two were married. He had never felt so much happiness in his life. The kingdom was thankful to their new Queen. It seemed she was the only one Voldemort would listen to, and because of this, she had saved many innocent lives.

They ruled in happiness together for five years when Susan became pregnant with their child. For the first time, he didn't care whether it was a boy or girl, it was a piece of Susan, and for that Voldemort was happy. It was well after midnight when Susan awoke with pains in her stomach. Worried for the baby, she sent Voldemort to get the palace physician. The sun was beginning to rise over the dark sea when the doctor stepped out of the room, blood all over his clothes and his face pale. Somewhere deep inside the room, he heard the cry of a newborn baby. The physician turned to him with sad eyes. He told Voldemort how they had delivered the baby safely and that she was fine. Voldemort didn't even register his words. He kept peering over his shoulder, trying to glimpse his beloved Susan.

"There's nothing else I can do. I'm sorry." He told the fearsome King, his head hanging low. Voldemort's head snapped in his direction. He gave the man a questioning look, not hearing what he said. The physician gulped.

"Your wife has lost a lot of blood." He told him. "She is going to die, and there is nothing I can do." The poor man regretted his words later.

Voldemort burst into the room. There was his wife, lying on their bed, her face as pale as the moon. She looked up at him with tears in her eyes, but whether from joy or pain, Voldemort would never know. She looked at him and whispered two words. Baby and Grace. Those two words seemed to cause her a lot of pain. Voldemort flew to the side of the bed and took her hand in his, it felt like ice. He leaned forward and kissed her forehead. Her smile still managed to melt his heart. She looked at him once more and whispered, I love you. And then she was still. Voldemort sat by her side for hours, weeping for his wife. Never in his life had he felt so much pain. Everyone exited the room. Only the baby stayed behind. It was then that he saw them. The Dementors. He did not notice them appear, but now they reached their scaly hands out to his wife's beautiful face. Voldemort sat there and felt nothing but defeat. With her soul collected, the Dementors turned to leave. They glanced at him before they disappeared and Voldemort felt like they were saying, 'You're next'.

Over the next few weeks, Voldemort barricaded himself in his new room, one as far from the other as possible. He let his deceased wife's maidservant take care of his new daughter, who at the dying wishes of her mother was named Grace. To the rest of the kingdom, Grace had died along with her mother. Only that maidservant knew the truth, and Voldemort made sure she would never tell. He didn't want anyone else to know about his failure of producing a son. On the fourth week after Susan's death, Voldemort finally emerged. He ordered his friend and head knight, Sir Orion to assemble a few troops to set off at sunset. Puzzled, he did as told. When they returned the next day, they carried behind them two dead unicorns. The people of Slytherin were appalled. A unicorn was a beautiful and harmless animal. While its blood had healing properties it was an awful crime to kill one. It was from his new sorcerer, Ahti, Voldemort learned that by drinking unicorn blood, a person could become immortal.

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A year. It had been a miserable, lonely year since his beloved Susan had been taken from him. And left behind was his daughter, whom he couldn't even look at, because every time he looked into her eyes, he saw Susan. For their daughter had inherited her mothers crystal blue eyes, even her hair was the same shade, that wonderful golden hair that still danced in the moonlight in his dreams. Voldemort entrusted the care for the girl to one of Susan's old maids and as far as he knew the old woman loved the little girl like her own daughter. Voldemort did not cast out his daughter, as he had done so many times before. It was because she reminded him of his beloved that he let her stay in the castle, and when she was old enough she would work alongside the maid who was her only mother figure.

It was during the night of one of these days in that long year. Voldemort had been drinking the unicorn blood successfully every night. He did not feel stronger than he already was, but he certainly did not feel any older either. And it was that that told him the unicorn blood was working and that is was preserving his strength. It was late at night, almost midnight when Sir Orion returned from the daily hunting trip. It had taken him longer, he explained, because he had a nasty run in with a centaur.

"The bloodthirsty creature was trying to defend the unicorn." He told him. "But he was no match for us." He held up the horn of the unicorn, covered in blood.

"And what of the centaur?" Voldemort asked.

"We bound him and took him to the dungeons to await his punishment. But he had some pretty interesting things to say." Voldemort looked at him with something akin to speculation. "He said something about a prophecy the stars have unfolded." Voldemort quickly stood up from his chair.

"Show me." He told Sir Orion who nodded and led the way to the dungeons, a few guards followed silently behind them.

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The dungeons were located deep under the castle, the only source of light being the low burning torches that hung on the walls. The walls and floors were damp with the water that seeped onto them from the Perpetual River that flowed above them. Sir Orion led Voldemort down the small corridor, lined with endless rows of cells. Most of the cells were occupied, holding robbers and law breakers combined. Some said that if the gallows did not get you, the dungeons would with their constant moisture and everlasting darkness. It was enough to drive even the bravest of men insane. Sir Orion stopped in front of one of the cells. Voldemort walked up beside him and peered in through the bars. The centaur was standing bravely, looking at the two of them. His horse body was a chestnut color and his human head was covered with brown hair. Voldemort's eyes met his steely gray stare.

"I have been told you wish to speak with me." He told the centaur. He bowed his head to Voldemort.

"Indeed my King. But only in exchange for my freedom."

"We shall see." Voldemort told the beast. His gaze told him to continue.

"It was four nights ago, my King," he started. "When the stars spoke of things to come." Voldemort looked uninterestedly at him. "They have foretold of a prophecy. It says that in 16 years, a strong and powerful king will meet a beautiful princess and that the union of the two will be the end of this war and that he shall have a son."

Voldemort looked up at the centaur, hardly believing his ears. Many have said that he is the most powerful king of all, so the prophecy had to be about him. But what of this beautiful princess? The centaur cleared his throat.

"My liege?" He asked. "I have delivered you the prophecy. Please let me go."

Voldemort waved his hand nonchalantly. "Yes indeed." He said, for he was in to good of a mood to punish the brute. In only sixteen years he would be the greatest king of them all and he would have the son he so desired. Sir Orion opened the cell and sent the centaur with two of the guards to be released. He turned to Voldemort, they were now alone.

"What do you think my Lord?" He asked him quietly.

"Well obviously the prophecy speaks of myself, but I must find this princess and make sure that everything turns out the way I want." Sir Orion looked at Voldemort and saw an eager look in his eyes. "Send for Lord Cygnus. I have a job for him." Voldemort told Sir Orion. He bowed and quickly left the dungeons. Voldemort stood there, relishing in the fact that in sixteen short years, his dreams and ambitions would finally come true.

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The next day, Voldemort met with Lord Cygnus.

"I have a special job for you." Voldemort told him. "I want you to travel to the other kingdoms. I am looking for a beautiful princess."

"Yes my Lord." He said, bowing to his king.

"I want you to report back to me when you return. I give you two months before I expect you back here. That should be plenty of time."

Lord Cygnus bowed again. Voldemort smiled his twisted smile at the man. Lord Cygnus was a very close friend of Voldemort's and the only one he would trust with this mission.

"How are your daughters?" Voldemort asked him. Lord Cygnus smiled a little hesitantly.

"Narcissa and Onora are wonderful. Narcissa has been betrothed to Sir Lucius, whom I believe you know." His voice clearly full of pride. "They are expected to wed on her fifteenth birthday."

"Wonderful news. Sir Lucius is a good man and a great soldier, one of my best actually. What a fine choice." He said with an approving nod. "And what of little Onora?"

"Healthy and taking her first steps. Just the other day she called me papa." There was clear admiration on his face. Voldemort nodded mutely. They did not discuss Lord Cygnus' third and eldest daughter whom everyone thought of a great stain on a wonderful family name. Andromeda, the eldest, had moved to the kingdom of Gryffindor earlier that year. Her parents were ashamed since Gryffindor was Slytherin's worst enemy, more so than the other two kingdoms. The two men finished their talk and then went their separate ways. Lord Cygnus departed for the kingdoms the following day.

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It had been two months and Lord Cygnus was not back yet. Voldemort was beginning to worry for the first time that maybe that foolish centaur had lied for his freedom. That maybe there was no prophecy and no beautiful princess. Voldemort was getting ready to send a hunting party out to find that foolish centaur, when Lord Cygnus rode through the castle gates. Voldemort quickly led the man to his private study at the top of one of the castle towers. It was there that Lord Cygnus told of his journey.

His first stop had been at the kingdom of Hufflepuff. There lived King Marc and Queen Anne. They had a one year old daughter, Princess Vanessa who was as beautiful at the age of one as her mother. She had beautiful chocolate brown eyes and brown hair to match.

His next stop was at the kingdom of Gryffindor, at the home of King Harold and Queen Margaret. They had no daughters. Only a year old son, Prince James.

His final stop was at the kingdom of Ravenclaw. King Mortimer and Queen Rose had three beautiful daughters. The eldest, Princess Petunia was 10 years old and betrothed to Lord Vernon. Their middle daughter, Princess Lily was the most beautiful one year old girl he had ever laid eyes on. Even at the age of one, he could tell that she would grow into a beautiful princess with her stunning emerald green eyes and auburn hair. Lord Cygnus believed that this was the girl Voldemort was looking for. The third daughter, Princess Daisy, had just been born earlier that month.

Voldemort was elated with the news that Lord Cygnus brought him. So the old centaur had not been lying after all. It seemed he had found his princess. Lord Cygnus then explained to him how Ravenclaw was having a celebration in a months' time to celebrate the birth of the new princess. Voldemort arranged for Lord Cygnus to travel there with Ahti, his sorcerer. That night, Voldemort ordered a feast in honor of Lord Cygnus and his family

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Lord Cygnus and Ahti arrived in Ravenclaw the day of the festivities. The people in the streets were loud and boisterous, celebrating the birth of a new princess. They were led to the castle and into the ballroom. They were there as representatives of Slytherin. Lord Cygnus, followed quietly by Ahti, walked up to the King and Queen, who was holding the baby bundle in her arms. Lord Cygnus bowed to the royals.

"King Voldemort sends his best wishes to Your Majesties and your family and congratulates you on the birth of your daughter." He said sweetly.

King Mortimer and Queen Rose smiled. "Thank you very much." The King told him. "We are so very sorry King Voldemort couldn't be here himself." The Queen said earnestly. Minstrel's sung all across the lands of Ravenclaw's gentle queen. They sung not only of her beauty but of her pure heart and trusting personality. Lord Cygnus could hear Ahti quietly reciting to himself. Good, then everything was going as planned.

"And how are the other two princesses?" Lord Cygnus asked them, drawing their attention away from the man behind him. "Are they coping well with their new sister?" He laughed. "I remember when we introduced our daughter Narcissa to her new little sister, Onora. She was mad for weeks at us." He chuckled quietly again.

The King and Queen also laughed. "Yes well Petunia seems to be having the most trouble. It's bad enough she has one younger sister stealing her parents' attention, but now she has two." The King said, looking across the hall at his blonde haired daughter who was dancing with her betrothed, Lord Vernon. "But our little Lily seems to be alright, she loves playing with Daisy here."

"And what of your newest daughter?" The Queen asked. "I believe your wife has just had another girl?"

"Yes. Our Bellatrix. Narcissa is better with her than she was with Onora, she is now used to not being the youngest anymore. And Nora is very sweet with little Bella. I think they will all be very close sisters." He said with pride. Little did he know how wrong he would be.

"Well that's nice." The Queen remarked. For a moment, the King and Queen fell silent. Lord Cygnus saw their eyes glaze over, but the next moment they were back to normal and smiling. Lord Cygnus felt Ahti lightly poke him in the back. He was finished.

"Oh. Where are my manners." Lord Cygnus suddenly exclaimed. "Forgive my old age Your Majesties, but this here is Ahti, King Voldemort's newest scribe. He has been dying for years to see the Woods and lands that lay outside of Slytherin. And how could I deny him.?" Lord Cygnus sighed.

"There is nothing to apologize for, Lord Cygnus. It is very nice to meet you Ahti. I do hope you are having a nice journey." The King told the young man. Ahti ducked his head and silently nodded. The King laughed. "Wonderful."

Little Daisy picked that moment to emit a soft whine from her mothers arms. Both parents looked down at the little girl lovingly.

"Well it seems someone has had enough for one day." The King and Queen looked at Lord Cygnus and Ahti.

"Please forgive my wife and myself. It seems we should put Daisy down for her nap."

"Of course." Lord Cygnus told them, bowing once again.

"Give my regards to your wife." Queen Rose told him as she was led away by her husband. Lord Cygnus nodded his head and watched them leave. He led Ahti to a secluded corner of the room.

"Well?" He asked the young man impatiently.

"It is done." Ahti responded. "They will agree to give their daughter, Princess Lily to Voldemort on her seventeenth birthday."

Lord Cygnus smiled happily. He couldn't wait to give King Voldemort the good news. Everything was going according to plan.

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A/N: Ok so this was a long one. Just a heads up, I don't think the other chapters will be this long, but I guess we will see. This just needed to long to explain and start everything. So I hope you guys all enjoyed this. Please leave me a review and tell me what you think and whether I should continue. =)