Thank you for sticking with me, even though it has been a very long time since my last update. My writing has been delayed because I went out with and became engaged to a great guy, moved halfway across the United States, and started working as a public school teacher. It has taken me a few years to be in a place where I can finally do something other than prepare lessons and mark assignments! I am writing this interlude in order to summarise the main plot points and character qualities so that you do not have to go reread all sixteen chapters of Heart of Gold before this point. I hope that it will be helpful for you and that you will continue to play in my playground.
On another note, I first had the inspiration for this story in 2005 after reading HBP and spending an afternoon trying to map out where all of the Horcruxes could be. As such, it is classified as a pre-DH story, and therefore Kreacher was never intended to be part of the resolution of Regulus’ story. I am still planning to write the story the way that I intended to from the very beginning, with an epilogue explaining why I made the choices I did; however, it is also possible to remain in line with the canon events described in Kreacher’s tale. Therefore, my intention is to write two endings for this story, one from a pre-DH and another from a post-DH perspective. Hopefully you will appreciate this exercise and look forward to reading how the story could end in both ways!
Regulus Black – Regulus joined the Death Eaters the night after he left Hogwarts with dreams of doing something of value and reforming the Ministry of Magic according to Lord Voldemort’s perspective. Regulus was also hired by the Ministry of Magic in the Department of Spells and Charms. His latest project was with a group called the Spell Defence Team that was doing research on defensive spells for the Aurors. Regulus became good friends with Lily Potter, who was also on the team, but they ended the year on poor terms because Regulus pulled a few manoeuvres that left Lily feeling cheated. With the Death Eaters, Regulus quickly realised that he had not fully thought through the implications of his actions. He was involved in several missions that led to the death or injury of wizards, witches, and Muggles, and he personally killed two people. Regulus worked very closely with Severus Snape on these missions, but decided that he couldn’t trust Snape anymore for one of two reasons: either Voldemort was using him to spy on Regulus or Snape himself was using Regulus to further his own aims. Voldemort’s most recent request of Regulus was to go to Ireland to do some personal research on a wizard named Donnelly, a complicated mission because it brought Regulus back into contact with his best mate, Liam.
Liam Merric – Liam is a Muggle-born wizard from County Clare in Ireland who was mysteriously Sorted into Slytherin. He befriended Regulus during their first year at Hogwarts, despite Liam’s blood status. They were flatmates for two months after they left school, but Liam returned to Ireland after he found evidence of Regulus’ status as a Death Eater. He felt very lost, both in London and in Ireland. In Ireland, he started helping his father Michael and his brother Silas with their shipping company, but knew that he was just running away from the problem. One fateful night, after meeting some girls in a pub, he used his wand to light the way through the fog and happened upon a man who recognized it as a magical object. Liam erased his memories, but was later able to find him and learned that his name was Christopher Devon. Devon is related to the Merrics by marriage, as his wife is the daughter of a man named Desmond Donnelly, who was an older cousin of Liam’s grandfather, Callum. Liam finally found meaning in his time in Ireland when he realised that his grandfather had come from a wizarding family, but had decided to run away from magic when he ended up embroiled with Desmond in the Dark Arts. Liam and his sister, Aislinn, had hit a rut in discovering what Callum’s research had been about when Regulus happened back into their lives.
Aislinn Merric – Aislinn is Liam’s Muggle older sister. Regulus met her over the summer when she came to help Liam find a job, but his first mission as a Death Eater led to disaster for Aislinn when a group of Death Eaters used a map that Regulus had made to set an explosion in Diagon Alley. Aislinn sustained serious injuries to her legs, and Liam took her back to Ireland soon after. Her positive and persuasive spirit was a boon to Liam throughout the fall and she helped him piece together the pieces of the puzzle surrounding Callum. She also alerted Liam to strange activity in County Clare among her young students, indicating that there might be other magical folk in the area.
Lily Potter – This story takes place in the year leading up to Harry’s birth, so Lily is still a young wife; the Potters have not gone into hiding yet. Lily took a job as a personal assistant with the Department of Spells and Charms and started to stretch her wings into experimental spells with the Spell Defence Team, at the same time Regulus joined. Through Snape, Lord Voldemort had asked Regulus to keep tabs on Lily and so the two formed a cordial friendship throughout the fall. Lily felt comfortable working with Regulus until he took all of the credit for their work during a meeting. Though she doesn’t know it, Lily has another reason to distrust Regulus; the pair had a midnight stand-off on Guy Fawkes Night over the body of Nicolai Baddock, a young Death Eater that Regulus killed so that he would not be taken by Lily and James. Lily also spent much of the fall trying to convince Regulus to patch up his relationship with Sirius, to no avail. Their relationship has likely taken a turn for the worse since Regulus and Sirius rowed with one another at the Leaky Cauldron in front of Lily, James, Remus, Peter, and Snape.
The Spell Defence Team – This team was made up of Richard Thomas (Dean Thomas’ father, for anyone who hadn’t figured that out!), Tobias Jackson (also known as Jacks), Hestia Jones, James Finch, Oliver Prewett, Frank Longbottom, Lily Potter, and Regulus Black. Their goal was to develop an extension of the Protego charm that could extend over a large area and be upheld by several wizards and witches. However, their work is likely at a standstill, due to the disappearance of Richard Thomas and Regulus’ holiday in Ireland. The team is unaware that Thomas was actually killed by Regulus at a Death Eater gathering, as a means of testing his loyalty.
Death Eaters – Regulus has been involved in Death Eater missions with Severus Snape, Lucius Malfoy, Barty Crouch, and the now-dead Nicolai Baddock. Snape has acted as a liaison between Voldemort and Regulus, though at times Regulus has suspected that Snape has been using him more for his own ends than Voldemort’s. The five boys created havoc in Stratford-Upon-Avon on Guy Fawkes Night, but were thwarted by the Longbottoms and the Potters. Regulus has not seen Lucius or Barty since that night, and does not feel particularly close to either of them, though he is related to both.
Black Family – Regulus also dealt with his father’s illness throughout the fall. Orion Black died a few days before Regulus left for Ireland, and he knows that he will have to assume family responsibilities once he returns to England. Ultimately, Regulus will have to make some choices between his loyalties to Liam, his family, Lily, and Lord Voldemort.