Nighttime Encounters in the Forest of Dean
As [Harry] opens the [locket], its voice hisses at [Ron] and shows him his worst fears, temporarily freezing him and making him unable to wield the sword in his hand. Finally, with a flash of red in his eyes, Ron swings [Gryffindor's sword] and destroys the locket.
With [Slytherin's locket] destroyed and [Ron]'s eyes running with tears, [Harry] embraces him, welcoming him home and confirming his importance both to Harry and [Hermione]. Finally, they walk off together, back to Hermione and the tent.
Back at the tent [Harry] awakens [Hermione], who promptly all but attacks [Ron], forcing Harry to use a [Shield Charm] to separate them. She then sits as Ron explains his futile attempts to return to them, being captured by [Snatchers] and unable to find them until they spoke his name and the [Deluminator] pointed his way. Harry and Ron then together explain the appearance of the [sword of Gryffindor], and finally Hermione stoops off to bed, clearly still angry at Ron.
While [Hermione] remains angry at [Ron], Ron and [Harry] discuss the things Ron learned while he was away, including the [Taboo], [Potterwatch], and [Dumbledore]'s biography. Harry also tries the new [wand] that Ron grabbed from the [Snatchers].
[Hermione] decides she wants to visit [Xeno Lovegood], to ask about the symbol he was wearing at [Bill] and [Fleur]'s wedding. Though [Harry] is against it, [Ron] sides with Hermione (with ulterior motives, Harry suspects) and Harry is outvoted. The trio then heads to bed, preparing to visit [Ottery St. Catchpole] the next day.
A Visit to Mr. Lovegood
[Harry], [Ron], and [Hermione] [Apparate] to [Ottery St. Catchpole], where they can't see the [Burrow] but learn that Ron spent Christmas not home, but at [Shell Cottage]. Finally, after a couple more attempts, they find the house, complete with eccentric signs, and march up to knock on the door.
Despite a less-than-warm welcome, [Harry], [Ron], and [Hermione] walk inside [Xenophilius Lovegood]'s house, where Hermione immediately raises a stink about an [Erumpet] horn and an obviously hesitant Xeno agrees to talk to them. He walks out to send word to [Luna] to come home, and the trio marvels at the man's crazy inventions and lack of guts.
[Xeno Lovegood] returns and offers an infusion of [Gurdyroots] to [Harry], [Ron], and [Hermione], as Hermione asks him about the necklace he wore at [Bill] and [Fleur]'s wedding - with the symbol of the [Deathly Hallows].
Though incredulous, [Harry], [Ron], and [Hermione] listen as [Xenophilius Lovegood] begins to explain the legend of the [Deathly Hallows]. Soon, though, he asks whether they've heard '[The Tale of the Three Brothers],' and Hermione takes out [The Tales of Beedle the Bard] and begins to read it aloud.
[Hermione] reads aloud '[The Tale of the Three Brothers],' wherein [Death] grants the wishes of three brothers and creates a [wand], a [Resurrection Stone], and an [Invisibility Cloak] that are the most powerful in the world. The first two lead to their owners' destruction, while the third brother survives to an old age.