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Your hand, m'lady

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“Look,look!” He taps frantically at his knight's shoulder and points.

 Infront of them a maiden no older than fifteen calmly walks through the debris of the rotting castle. She looks about the ruins with calm, her platter of ripe fruits and spring water held as steady as a carpenter would making a violin.

 The knight, although his visor being down prevents a keen eye from looking at him, is clearly visibly rolling his eye. And the tinny sound of a heaved breath further exacerbates his intention of showing annoyance. “Keep waiting.”

 His ginger squire keeps patting him as his whole focus is zeroed in on the young maiden and her tray of delectables.

 She reaches the door and knocks twice and waits.

 “If this is to show me that to rap upon the door in a certain way is to get in, we shall proceed now and have it over with.” He makes to get up but his squire, although absolutely intent on watching the girl pulls him back down.

 Had this been a knight and his squire from less further afield than they were, be it still a high-born, the knight barely bats an eye at the rough handling from his servant and settles back down to continue watching.

 The ginger gasps audibly as what was once a thought upon rock moves and peels away from the doorway and a large, grey, scaled head bobs past one of the four grand pillars to the antebellum. Although the one closest to the knight and squire's hiding spot is crumbled and part of the overhang must have crumbled with it as only a large majority of said overhang is still jutting out.

 The knight does inhale, but not loudly, instincts urging quiet. “Are you looking sir?”

 He hums softly and watches as the beast, who's head in length is twice that of the girl's height, stops and rests upon the ground next to the girl.

 He can see, even from his far-away position, the dragon glance towards the doors, it's head just that large you see.

 The girl bows to the dragon and enters.

 The beast waits for a moment before slithering back and away from the doors and out of sight around the furthest side from the men.

 “Permission to speak Sir Potter?” Harry nods and looks to his squire, the young noble himself looking eagerly to his higher.

 “A woman, is what we need. I...we need to find a woman willing to put her life at risk to get in there and rescue the princess.” He grins keenly, searching the knight for approval and absolutely eating it up when he lifts his visor and nods.

 “Ron, this has to work. Or we may find ourselves the laughing stock of Hogwarts.” Ron nods enthusiastically and with both a glance from each at the doors to the castle they traipse back to Hogwarts and rest at a dusty little inn called the Leaky Cauldron.

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 The next day saw knight and squire sitting in a cosy little set-up in the inn's eatery. “Give me but a week to find a mistress.” Ron taps loudly on the table with his elbows and their goblets of ale tremble delicately.

 “Yes, yes, thank you sir, thank you. I can't thank you enough.” He leaps to the ground and makes a scene of kissing his sabatons.

 Harry laughs jovially. “Barkeep, one more for the betrothed.” He slaps his friend over the head and they banter through the day, wasting away in the dusty little inn.

***

 Four days into his search finds him the perfect candidate.

 A caravan had caught his eye in the next town over. A woman set on the outskirts, in particular. She seems much less approachable than her kin, but more than willing to partake in such a task he is hoping to set.

 He had asked the town crier how long the caravan was staying for to which his reply was a fortnight. Harry had smiled politely and travelled back to his home town and informed his squire of the news.

 More ale was had, and with a good conscience and cause to celebrate a bottle of wine was purchased along the lines too.

 The woman had watched him approach with a  scowl and a short, sharp pairing knife in hand. Wild hair tied back via dull yellow bandeau and flowing skirts of red, brown, yellows and oranges completely covering her caravet's steps.

 Harry bowed, his armour gleamed to a shine by them both the night prior, “Madame, I hope to ask a request, a sum of money being the reward.” He hopes this woman is as dangerous as she looks.

 She grunts and he takes the affirmative to carry on. “You may have heard of Hogwarts and it's captive princess?” She merely lifts an eyebrow and glances over his gleaming armour.

 “My squire and I have found her captor will not attack any woman, be it young, old, poor, or rich. We were hoping in order to h-.” A woman, much, much taller than himself leaves the door directly behind the sitting lady. Her own face sporting the same scowl and unusual long two-toned hair  fluttering in the wind.

 Harry may have misread the situation a little then...

 “Madame.” He bows deeply to the new arrival.

 “Bella?” The woman bends down and puts a hand to the other fair-skinned woman's shoulder. This 'Bella' quickly glances at the newcomer and a short, sharp conversation is had.

 “Very well, carry on knight, you're wasting our time.” The two-toned woman sits with the other and Harry stumbles over his words a little as they sit similarly as a married man and woman should.

 “Y-yes, well, I'm sorry madame's, where was I? Oh yes, I was wondering, begging your pardons, if you would help me gain the princess' favour by rescuing her.” Harry wonders as the first woman leans back and bangs loudly on the door. “Dromy!” She shouts a few more words in Romani and soon a woman similar in looks to the first appears, although she is tanned like her people and her hair brown where the first woman's is black.

 “Ask us again.” The first says, the third sits too, amongst her like the second had and Harry tries, he really tries not to stumble over his words as hands land on thighs  and shoulders are pressed too closely.

 He receives three scowls, until he can finally throw a sentence together. “I was wondering if you would be able to help me betroth the princess.”

 The third 'Dromy' huffs. “Well that doesn't sound too hard. How much?”

 “400 shillings madame. Be it her captor is a dragon m'lady.” He bows and hops to his Lord that this works.

 The second speaks, with barely a hint of communication. “150 shillings each.” He thinks carefully and separates his own rates in his head. After a moment he nods.

 “Alright m'lady, 450 shillings total.” The three of them nod and he notices how unanimous it was before he catches a chill and shivers. “By Saturday, noon, I shall be back to escort you to the castle.”

 He then leaves, on his way to bare the good news to his squire, although not too sure if he's just hired one woman or all three.

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Two days later sees him striding confidently to the madame's caravet, he barely glances at the first step before three whirlwinds billow out and drag him far away from the caravan.

 The first woman in significantly shorter than himself, the second still drastically taller and the third is just barely a normal height, although still taller than the average man.

 “Come sir, we must hurry then, a damsel in distress you say?” Harry can't tell if they jest or mock him, so he replies politely and shows them to a small, light, pen horse drawn cart.

 They climb aboard and he takes the reigns from Ron who eagerly, and rudely, swivels round to stare at the three women.

 “Hello Madame's, I am my knight's squire at your service.” He tips his little feather hat and grins in what he would deem a charming smile but ends up looking more like a boy spotting a pot of gold. “I do hope this goes well, it should do, I have the utmost faith in you.” He continues to stare, taking in their odd clothing.

 'Bella' in her outfit from the first time Harry had encountered her, The second woman in a monochrome black and white version, and 'Dromy' in a different orange tunic and brown pantaloons, very non-Romanic, and also very unbecoming of Britannia and her living standards and feminine etiquette.

 He decides to ignore this though in favour of what they are going to do for his squire.

 Ron only looks back when a shining black musket is pulled from within the multicoloured skirts of 'Bella' and not so subtly aimed at him.

 Harry doesn't notice his steaming face and held breath.

 The journey is barely two hours; fare weather, and dry, dusty roads common to the summertime aiding the passing of time.

 He stops the cart at the bottom of the hill they had first viewed the castle from but a few weeks ago, and urges the women to follow him up the bank.

 Pointing out the dragon is much harder when he must find it first, as well disguised as a chameleon from the far-away lands would to a tree.

 But he does find it and carefully traces the full length of it as it curls around with it's head on one side of the door and it's body ending on the other as if it were hugging the castle.

 The women nod along in silence. “Sir may I request you stop speaking in order for me and my sisters to convene?”

 Harry chokes before glancing over the three and nodding. Sisters?!

 He can certainly see the similarities between 'Bella' and 'Dromy' but the third? Maybe a half-sis-

 “We will be on our way sir.” The third woman leads the way back down and around to the gates of the castle.

 Paint chipped and one hanging limply to the floor as if it were one of those actors in the plays his fellow noblemen shout about.

 They watch with bated breath, and half screwed-shut eyes just in-case the dragon decides it will end it's male-only eating habit and consume the three beautiful women as well.

 He may well ask one of them to be his own bride if all goes well as his squire manages the Princess' own hand.

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 “Sisters, do we know what's happening here no?” They traverse the debris, long since disbanded water feature, many old flower beds burnt out and left. Wild brambles creeping from the overgrown hedges on the far side and what's left of a very becoming gravel path that has sunk low into the Earth, being consumed and mixed with dirt by the wind and weather and lack of upkeep.

 “Yes we do Bella, we're not thick.” Replies Narcissa.

 Bellatrix leads the charge, her musketeer firmly stowed away and her sister's own weapons equally as such.

 “Mayhaps we will get something out of this instead of money?” Andromeda asks, Bellatrix shares a look with them both and they carry on walking, nearing the dragon.

 It still hadn't cracked an eye and Bella is desperately hoping for some sort of reaction or her dreams would all be for naught.

 Andromeda, closest to the beast, catches up to Bellatrix and the three of them come to a stop. Barely a few paces from the blackened snout.

 It's breath even and deep, not asleep, powerful enough to make their hair and clothes billow with warm air, much like that of the hottest of summer days.

 Narcissa clears her throat politely. “Excuse me beast, we come regarding the welfare of the kept princess.”

 The beast almost holds it's breath before sighing? And opening it's eyes. Bright orange, with what seems to be a horizontal split pupil in each eye. It grumbles and sighs again.

 The three sisters barely flinch as it stares and stares, before it lifts it's head and looks to the entrance.

 Bellatrix bows to the beast and leads her sisters through the double doors and off the unkempt receiving courtyard.

 The doors swing shut behind them on surprisingly well-oiled hinges that are angled in such a way to allow for their own closing.

 Inside is bright and filled with dust motes, although the dust must just be in the air as every surface they see is well-kept, the floor tidy and the architecture in perfect condition; compared to it's outwards appearance being that of a debilitated castle, that's seen it's years and fair share of wars.

 Bellatrix leads them through the long entryway, over gleaming dark wood floors and passed a multitude of well-kept tapestries, to the stairs.

 The stairs are relatively quiet and unsizeable compared to the rest of the castle's architecture, but still impressive in it's own right of having elegantly carved banisters, little animal figures etched into the wood of the banister, and riser, the nosing being capped in marble to help with the wear and tear of what should have been a busy, and bustling building.

 They're stopped however, when a door off to their side opens and a tall blonde...girl, for want of a better word steps through.

 Not as tall as Narcissa respectively, but damn tall to the average man, Andromeda rubs quickly at her eyes as this girl seems to defy light, the very edges of her face seemingly darker than her bright white skin.

 Electric blue eyes and very large pupils that should have retracted in this much light.

 Wearing an elegant blue robe that hugs tightly to and up her neck, and pools at her feet, an elegant clasp taking the shape of a bee keeping it together.

 “Hello, the princess awaits. I shall remain here until further notice madame's.” Comes the decidedly French lilting voice, soft and high, but strong to carry to even the furthest of walls.

 Andromeda nods and nudges her sisters into action.

 They hurry up the steps as the strange girl behind watches. Narcissa takes up the rear as the stairs don't quite allow enough room for three persons.

 “Quickly sisters.” Bellatrix whispers. “We mustn't dally, she seems pleasant enough but we mustn't take our chances. Much like the knight and his squire.” She doesn't notice as her sisters also turn down their lips in distaste.

 They wander the hall at the top for a few moments before an open spiralling stairway is found behind one of the lavish tapestries.

 “Cissy, Droma, here.” Bellatrix again, leads the charge and many many flights later they reach the miniature landing, a single door infront of them. The door weathered and a small sea-glass porthole at the top.

 They walk through and out onto the keep, fenced by crenelations. They can easily spy the aforementioned men, the knight in his armour glinting in the sun. How on Earth he thinks he's hidden in full sunlight and dressed in what is quintessentially a mirror.

 Narcissa glances around the keep and spies a second door to the one they exited from, which leads into a square, squat rise in the roof and beyond that a relatively short tower and turret.

 “Ladies?” The almost-twins turn as one and the three look it over. “Let us proceed.” Narcissa this time leads them and they make their way up what seems to be a reverse of the staircase they just climbed.

 They reach yet another door although this one has a panel missing on the top and bottom, of the six total that should be in the door. In place of the wood is a wide flat dream catcher, thatched thickly enough none of them could see through it; it being long enough that the unusually long feathers scrape the floor and cover the bottom opening.

 A gentle breeze moves the feathers about and they peak and stick through the rogue panel.

 Andromeda clears her throat and asks her sisters to stay put with a raised hand. She steps forward briskly and knocks three times, and waits.

 A low feminine groan is heard followed by a thud and a series of shuffles.