Hello all and welcome to my newest story! First of all, to anyone who's wondering where the first and second Wasteland Chronicles are, well, they're not written yet. Those would be the prequels to this "first" installment. I am writing the story in medias res and I think I've taken it too literaly. The easiest way to explain this is by saying George Lucas with Star Wars Episode IV. He started with IV. I'm starting with III.
Secondly, just to give you all a visual on everything, I'm adding a casting list :)
James McAvoy as Richard Goram
Rebecca Hall as Clara (pronounced cluh-ruh) Erichs
Heath Ledger as Richter Osborne
Jamie Bell as Fletcher Osborne
Louis Garrel as Toren Ellis
Clive Owen as Albus Potter
Daniel Craig as Scorpius Malfoy
Sean Bean as Martin Grasser (pronounced gray-ser)
And on a final note, hopefully you decide to join me through this dystopian ride! Enjoy!
Standard Disclaimer: Anything you recognize in the story is not mine, but JK Rowling's. This story was inspired by a number of books, movies and other medias, but most specifically, the Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert. Thank you Mr. Herbert!
CHAPTER I: Beyond
Even reduced to rubble, Hogwarts still had the most powerful wards in England. Every little bit helped, especially when you literally had armies deployed to hunt you down. But the school had already been abandoned for more than eighteen years and lightning would not strike the same place twice.
"I almost forgot how wet it is here," Goram said as he sat down on one of the many surrounding boulders that covered the ruins. He took off his boots and threw them to the side, stretched his tired legs as far as he could, and shrugged off his heavy raincoat. "So what was so urgent you had to drag me all the way back here? I was doing well for myself in Argentina, you know. Just a few of us left there so the bastard doesn't even bother looking anymore." He had a scowl on his face that was perhaps the nearest to a grin that anyone had seen on him in years. "Can’t we start a fire or something? I’m freezing my arse off here.”
"What do you know about freezing?" Clara laughed lightly as she huddled closer to Goram. “You’ve been in South America all this time while I was freezing my arse off in Greenland, so don’t talk to me about freezing. Besides, you know we can’t light a fire. Do you want to be stone cold before that pretty little bum of yours has even begun to thaw?”
“I miss you too, Erichs.” He laughed, kissing Clara on the cheek, putting his arm over her and giving her what little warmth he could.
Fletch smiled as he rubbed his hands together and shoved them in his pockets. "Admit it, you two. Happy to be home. No place like good old England." He laughed. Everyone was at ease, however brief the moment might be. Even Richter, his own brother, seemed to let his guard down as he sat near Goram and Clara. Richter was only on his fourth cigarette for the night and that had always been a good sign for them. If he hadn’t already started on his second pack by ten thirty, there wouldn’t be much need for worry.
Toren was the only one still on edge about the whole matter, still checking the perimeter despite the fact that everyone else had settled down, a flask in his hand. Probably filled with firewhiskey, as usual. It seemed to be the only thing keeping him calm.
“Toren, mate,” Fletch called out to him. “Give it a rest and come on here. I don’t think there’re any Cryllians around for another hundred miles.”
“Not far enough if you’ll ask me.” Toren kept his eyes to the horizon. “Go ahead and start. I can hear you from here.”
Fletch would have said something, had Toren not cast an icy look towards him. He wasn’t always wise enough to know when to keep his mouth shut, especially where Toren was concerned, but he did not want to waste any time arguing tonight. They didn’t risk coming to common ground for nothing. And so, he did as he was told to, for once in his life.
“Alright then. I call the Fifth Watch Council to order. Shall we?” He rolled up his sleeves and revealed a lightning bolt shaped scar on his forearm.
The others did so as well, revealing the same markings. All five members of the Fifth Watch Council were present.
"Now, let's see here..." Fletch began looking them over. "Goram, you got your mark from...?"
"Me father. Henry Goram, God rest his soul. Irish Head of the Watch." He nodded.
"Alright. And Clara?"
"A friend of mine, Grillier. Jean-Luc Grillier. French Sector of the Watch before he joined the main faction in England."
"Richter and I got ours from Uncle Jack and his buddy Luke Pritchard, Division Leaders of the Watch for Metropolitan London. And that leaves Toren. Mate, who gave you your mark?"
"You know where I got mine." He took a swig at his flask.
"I still have to ask, mate. It's tradition."
"Fine," snapped Toren. "Stephen Potter, son of James Potter II. British Sector."
The white marble halls of the house were empty and all was quiet save for the clinking ice inside Albus’s glass. His third glass scotch was already running dry, yet he could still feel the pounding pain on his head. Throughout his forty-four years or so of life, he’d discovered that alcohol was the only thing that helped ease the throbbing in his head, thus making it an indispensable component to his existence. He made it a point to finish at least one glass of any sort of alcoholic drink every night.
“Oh, why must we test the fates with our schemes and plotting?” he asked to the night air that blew past his open windows. “Are we so foolish that we think we can triumph over a higher power?”
“We are the closest thing to gods this world will ever have. There is no higher power.” Grasser entered the room without much ceremony, an odd thing considering his flamboyant nature. But in his classic style of flare and manner, he entered unannounced, leaving Albus surprised at his sudden appearance.
“Martin, my dear friend.” Albus smiled, turning from the window to face him. “You never did understand the ways of the world. We no longer have need for Gods on this earth. Only a society of equals.” He laughed. “Care for a drink? Scotch, brandy, vodka? Anything that takes your fancy, really,” he offered, making his way for the assortment of spirits that he kept near his work desk.
“No need. I didn’t come to get drunk with you tonight, Albus.”
“Then tell me.” He drained his glass and set it on the table. “Why come at such an ungodly hour if not to have a small night cap?”
“I thought you might like to hear some interesting news. Cryllians in the Northern regions report that there’s some sort of activity in the Restricted District.”
Interesting indeed. Albus took a seat behind his desk and gestured Grasser to take a seat as well. Behind steepled fingers, a smile formed on his face. ‘Finally,’ he thought to himself. He’d been waiting for a gathering like this. He’d waited for the Watch to be come desperate enough to attempt meeting on English soil.
Grasser echoed the expression of his friend. He laughed. “On second thought, I think I will have that scotch. Neat, if you please.”
Albus took out the bottle of Highland Sherry-cask scotch and poured it straight in the glass, nearly filling it to the brim. He knew how Grasser liked his drinks, in huge quantities. ‘A man after my own heart.’ He smirked to himself.
Albus called a man in and ordered him to bring in Scorpius Malfoy. He knew Scorpius would most likely already be asleep, being the only one of the triumvirate who still managed to rest at a regular rate; but news such as this was much too important to wait until morning.
“I think he’d want to go in himself, don’t you?” Grasser said, taking another long drink of his scotch, letting it linger long in his mouth to savor the intense flavor.
Albus swirled the dark, molasses-colored liquid, enjoying the chime-like music the ice made as it hit the walls of the crystalline glass. He smiled. “I’ll have to admit, Martin, I am counting on that. I wouldn’t want anyone but Scorpius for this particular mission. No offense meant towards you, of course.”
“Certainly no offense taken. You know rebels are not really my cup of tea. Too messy. They take all the art away from the whole ordeal.”
“I’ll drink to that!” Albus raised his newly-filled glass. “To the artistry of politics.”
“No, no. To the artistry of idealism.” Grasser met his toast and laughed. “Gone were the days when rebellion was built on firm resolve and ideals. Now, they’re just a rag-tag group of miscreants that stand for nothing but their own causes. Revenge, vendettas, anarchy. How low defiance has sunk.”
"But you cannot blame them. They were born in lesser times. Times without morals and reason. How else would you expect them to react but like rats caught in a flooding sewer?"
"I'd at least expect some spark in them. When we were in their place, we fought like a forest fire." Grasser sighed. "We were born to different times, my friend. A different world."
"Wrong again, Martin. The world never changes. Only the people in it. And the people now have lost all the integrity they once had."
"Making our cause all the more integral."
Albus nodded. The future hung in the balance, with only so much time to tip the scales. If they faltered but a little bit in their path, all would fall to ruin. He ran his hand down his face. To change the world was a lonely path. "We fight for future incandescent, my friend. We have brought down a regime and now make our way towards the rebirth of mankind."
“A new revolution." Grasser drained his glass and filled it up to the brim once more. "If the French are to be credited with anything, it is that they were wise enough to behead a troublesome monarch as soon as a suitable instrument was invented. Now anarchy like that, I can respect. To the guillotine!”
“To the guillotine!”
At that moment, Scorpius barged in Albus’s office, swinging open the doors with less ceremony than Grasser had. He did not even bother to make himself presentable as he appeared in their presence clad in nothing but his pajama bottoms and a scowl. “This better be good.” He addressed Albus, acknowledging Grasser only with a curt nod. “I am in no mood to indulge your philosophical musings tonight.”
“Sit down, Scorpius. I think you’ll enjoy the news Martin has so graciously put to my attention.” Albus waved his wand, conjuring another chair for his newly arrived guest. He also poured another glass of scotch, this time on the rocks, and slid it towards Scorpius. “Martin, if you please.”
Grasser obligingly nodded. “Well, Scorpius, it seems you’ll finally get your restless self a chance to stretch out. The rebels have been spotted in the Northern regions, near Old Hogwarts Castle, I believe.” He took a small sip of his drink. “I must say, Albus, this is an excellent bottle.”
“Why, thank you.”
“Enough of the chattering. I’ll get a team of Cryllians prepared and we’ll leave as soon as they’re ready,” Scorpius stated brusquely, instantly turning around and heading straight for the door.
Albus waved his wand again, only now to close the doors of his office shut, leaving an impatient and restless Scorpius locked inside. “So hasty, Scorpius.” He tsk-tsked. “You cannot leave just yet. We have something to talk about first, before diving into anything else.”
“And what might that be?” He said through gritted teeth.
Before Albus could speak, he put his scotch down and gestured his wand again to open the doors. “If you’d be so kind as to give us some privacy, Martin. Matters of a delicate nature, you understand.”
His face did not betray him. Grasser put his scotch down quietly and gracefully rose from his chair. “Of course, Albus. Another time, then.”
Grasser showed himself out, the doors closing behind him.