Chapter 5 : V: Herein, part 1
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I guess you all have noticed that there is a part one on the chapter title. That's because this is only the first part of the massive "big picture look" I was telling you about. Yes. There are two more parts to it, and hopefully (if the queue allows) they will come successively.
I extend the cast list, as par usual. Notice the new faces? I thought you would.
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)
Julianne Moore as Lily Potter II
Tom Hollander as Carlton Finley
Bill Nighy as Syndic Deitmar Krueger
Javier Bardem as Syndic Lucio Ramierez
Rachel Weisz as Syndic Ilinca Costin
Gabriel Byrne as Syndic Driscoll Morrigan
Guy Pierce as Izak
Katie McGrath as Nora Dawes
Sam Worthington as Ciaran Pearce
Freida Pinto as Lalita Pearce
Don't be afraid to leave short or long reviews! I don't care about the length as long as I know what you think. Drop by my Author's page too at the forums. I'd love to hear your shout outs and questions!
Without further adieu...
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!
Once Malfoy possessions, now wood for the fire. The normally righteous Fletcher Osborne didn't see the point in mourning their loss. He tore them apart, with no care for what their owners might feel, and tossed them to the fire. Tapestries, chairs, keepsakes. Anything that could be burned. It was not as if Scorpius Malfoy would miss them. Ever since the Grimmauld incident, he had moved residence from the ancestral Malfoy Manor and joined the other Chancellors in Grimmauld Place. It made their fortress more impregnable than ever. If the wards were not enough to protect them, the Cryllian guards would be sure to do the job. Bad luck on the part of the Watch. But like anything else in the world, luck could easily be changed.
His brother, Richter, was a great believer in luck. Often making decisions by a roll of the dice or the flip of a coin, people viewed him as foolish. Reckless. Almost as reckless as Toren.
Fletch took another chair on his knee and snapped it in half with one swift movement.
His best mate and his older brother. Toren and Richter. Both of them were idiots. Stupid enough to prefer the cold rush of unknown chances rather than the certitude in safety. Though Toren and Richter had been the ones to keep them safe, keep the Watch alive, it was always with an ounce of recklessness. Always with some odds. It was only out of loyalty that Fletch still defended the both of them. Friendship aside, he would probably trust them less than Goram did. But Fletch knew them. Just like Stephen knew them. He would put his life in their hands in a split second. They were members of the Watch. They would never get into any mess unless there was a chance of tipping the scales to their advantage.
But what they did in old Hogwarts castle was indefensible. It wasn't just any Cryllian party after them. They were led by Malfoy. One wrong step, one twist of bad luck and they all could have ended up in Azkaban. Once there, they would be forced to talk. And one thing Fletch knew was that everybody talked. No exceptions. Maybe it would take some time, but eventually, everybody talked.
Fletch threw in the last bit of firewood, dusted his hands, and went back to Richter. His brother was in bad shape. Unconscious, he writhed in pain from his injuries, forehead was brimming with fever. Even sleep couldn't help him find some comfort. With no provisions left, Fletch couldn't do anything about it. The last of the Gripner's was gone and Fletch doubted if he could find any in the Manor. Fletch ran his hand through his hair.
"How do you plan to get out of this one, mate?" he asked, ruffling his brother's hair.
Just then, a loud thump came from down the hall and the heavy shuffles of footsteps threatening through the corridors. Goram still hadn't cooled off, so it would seem. Fletch gave a sigh and got on his feet, walking to meet Goram and go through some lengths in pacifying him, only to be greeted by a woman thrown to the floor.
Goram got some rope from his bag, all the while keeping a foot on her back. He bound her arms and legs.
"Comfortable?" he sneered at her. The girl winced as Goram tightened the knots on her wrists. Bruised and swollen, he probably broke the left one when she attacked him.
"What's all this about, then?"
"Attacked me in the courtyard while I was putting up the wards," he said.
"Let's ask her, shall we?" Goram hoisted her up, slamming her body to the nearest wall. "Name!"
"Fuck off!" she hissed at him.
"I tried to be nice." Goram quickly pulled her head down, exposing her neck and pressed a knife to it. Fletch could see that he'd already nicked her once. In his agitated state, he was probably in mind to kill her before they even get a word out of her.
"Keep yourself in check." Fletch grabbed the knife and pushed Goram away.
The girl laughed, at them, despite herself. "Wasting your time questioning me? You should be running by now."
"Tipped off your friends, aye?"
"Tipped them off yourself, more like. Or have you forgotten that Wand usage is monitored? Cryllians could have narrowed down your location with even a small Lumos spell. Putting up wards, that's like turning on a searchlight while singing the fucking Queen Mother's praises."
The two shared a fleeting glance. The trail was supposed to have cooled off when they left England. This was not supposed to happen. The Chancery's guard was not supposed to strengthen.
Fletch shoved Goram off the girl, keeping him a distance. He was too keyed up. He couldn't be trusted to make clear decisions, not now.
"She could be lying!" Goram yelled.
"How much are you willing to bet on that?" She smiled. "Coin toss? Dice? Russian roulette? Come on. Try your luck. Keep on using that wand and we'll see who's lying."
Chances. Risk. It seemed to follow them everywhere they went. Trust her, risk their lives. Don't, and the odds stood the same. Fletch had no time to weigh options.
He turned to Goram, already putting out the fire and gathering their things.
"Toren or not, we leave now!" Goram growled. "We'll use the portkeys."
"And what do you suggest we do about Richter! Leave him here to die?! Using the portkeys would only make it all the bleeding worse."
"Well I don't suppose she has some Gripner's on her, d'you think?" Goram sardonically laughed. "There's no other way out and I am not taking any chances! Better one than three! We have to get out of here while we can!"
"Don't be stupid!"
No. Fletch would not leave his brother to die. Had their roles been reversed, he knew Richter wouldn't either. He looked to Richter. If they used the portkeys out of there, he would be as good as dead. His body would not survive the transportation. He looked to the girl.
"Help us escape."
"NO! WE CAN'T TRUST HER!"
"Shut it, Goram!" Fletch roared. He looked at the girl, eye to eye. Holding her gaze under his. "Help us, or consider yourself dead."
"How do I know you'll keep your end of the bargain?"
"You don't. But then again, we aren't so certain of you, now are we?"
Goram screamed his protests, but Fletch turned a deaf ear. Still he kept his gaze. Both of them, unflinching. Finally, the girl stretched her bound arms out to him. "Cut the ropes!"
Fletch smiled, cutting the ropes and giving her back her knife. He went on collecting his things and Richter's, slinging his brother on his back. He and the girl regarded each other. A leap of faith on both ends.
Goram held him back, grabbing the collar of his shirt. "You can't be serious."
"Believe me, I am. If you're not coming, then like you said. Better two than three."
He let Fletch go. It was no time for arguing. There was no doubt that all accounts would be settled some other time. He took out their wands and broke them, throwing the shards amongst the dust and grime of Malfoy Manor. Survival was the main goal. Fletch went on, following the girl as they went out through the back door and onto the abandoned streets of Harrow. The loud cracks of apparating Wizards - no doubt, Cryllians - broke the silence of the sleepy midnight.
Quietly, they kept to the shadows, moving carefully towards the manhole in the middle of the street.
The girl opened the heavy metal lid, helping them in. "Well, gentlemen. In you go."
She'd brought them through the sewers and into the Muggle Tube tunnels. Navigating them through the mess of alcoves and turns throughout the London Undeground, Goram, Fletch and Richter traveled blindly to where this stranger brought them. Goram walked in the rear, constantly checking behind to see if they were followed. He had a bad feeling about all of this. He knew it was cold of him to suggest that they leave Richter, but if they had used the portkeys, they would lie in the certitude of a safe place - no matter how uncertain they were of its exact location. He turned forward again, following the rest as they turned to another fork in the way.
"Are you sure the Cryllians won't follow us?" he called out to the girl.
"Even if they did, they'd get lost in here."
"How far long till we reach this place?"
"Some way more. About three clicks down and we're home sweet home."
"And what exactly is home?"
Surprised, it was the best bit of news he'd heard since coming back to London. "You a member of the London Faction?" he asked.
"Of what?" she scoffed.
"The Watch. I just assumed - "
"Don't be ridiculous. The Watch left England a long time ago. Abandoned us to save their skins."
Goram winced at her words. Abandon. It somehow rang some truth. The center of the new regime, the hammer probably fell hardest on their home. They left to keep the Watch alive. To prevent the Chancery from killing what breath was left in their fighting spirit. But they had not left England to fend for itself. Lieutenants were assigned to command in their stead. God only knew what happened to it in their absence.
He shook his head, keeping his eyes forward, and his thoughts reigned.
In front of him, Fletch was caving under Richter's weight. He was tired. They all were. No sleep and not a proper meal in days, he couldn't blame Fletch. Goram slung Richter's free arm around his own shoulders and carried part of the load, nodding to Fletch. His temper aside, he and Fletch had known each other too long to act like children. They needed to stand together. Especially now.
"You alright Fletch?" he turned to him.
"Richter's fever is going up."
"He's a tough bastard. He'll hold up. Don't worry."
"We're nearly there," the girl called out from the front.
Goram could see that they were nearing a dead end. It was an old cobblestone wall, moss ridden, but still strong. As they got closer and closer, Goram could notice the markings on it. The old language of the goblins.
"Old goblin trick," she said as her finger traced the markings in a certain way, each movement, seemingly opening a lock from behind the wall. "You just have to know which lines to follow."
Fletch looked to Goram who only gave a small shrug. Neither of them knew enough out goblins to know what she was doing, but as they had been doing for the past few hours, the took a leap of faith and decided to trust whatever she was doing, or to where they were bringing her.
Following the rough, ragged, almost scratched like etchings on the wall, more and more clicking sound emerged in the echoing tunnel. Then, the girls stepped back from the wall, pushing them all back.
Unseen gears creaked and turned, lifting the wall. It revealed a small ante chamber inside. The girl went in first, Goram and himself feeling reluctant. But with the endless labyrinth of tunnels behind them, what choice did they have?
As soon as they were on, the girl traced some symbols again, closing the door.
"I suggest you hold on to the railings," she warned them as she took her own advice. The wall closed once more, bathing them in darkness. A calm before the antechamber dropped down a long shaft.
Fletch grabbed on the railing behind him and used his other free arm to secure Richter. Goram did the same. It was like they were a stone dropped down a well, yet the girl didn't seem the least bit surprised. Likely used to it by now.
The drop came to a halting stop, slamming hard on the floor and shaking them all out of balance. Jolted, disoriented, it took a while for Fletch and Goram to gain back their bearings. By the time they did, the girl was already waiting outside the lift, holding open a low metal hatch.
"Watch your head." She let them pass first, holding the door open for them like the gentleman she most definitely was not. Even helped with bringing Richter in through the small hatch.
The dim, firefly lights hovered low in the small space. Goram had to crouch in fear of hitting his head on the rough stone ceiling. Fletch tightened his hold on Richter, now putting him on his back, as he trailed behind the girl.
"Hurry up now," she said. "Keep your eyes on me or you might miss a turn."
Fletch was certain that getting lost in here was about as easy as she made it sound. He followed, just as she said, closely behind herself.
The tunnels looked old, almost ancient, with little traces of being disturbed. Fletch trod carefully down the tapered passage, careful not to bump Richter on the sharp turns. His arms were slowly losing strength. His grip, loosening. If it weren't for Goram's support from behind, he'd have dropped his own brother out of fatigue.
Finally, they came upon a thick, rusted door- what he wished would be the final. The girl knocked on it, and a slot opened.
"Nora Dawes. Recon A," the girl said.
The slot shut closed, the echo ringing throughout the whole tunnel. "She's back!" he heard someone yell from the other side, as the door slowly creaked open.
There was no warm welcome inside. Simply a large, imposing man, standing on the foot of the threshold. His face held a mix of relief and anger, anger surfacing more prominent than the latter.
"Ciaran," she nodded.
"Where the hell have you been!" he roared at the girl, now known as Nora. "Do you know how long we've been looking for you!"
"Can we get to this later, sir? I have an injured civilian with me and he needs medical attention." She tried to get passed him, failing at the attempt as more men emerged. She sighed, dropping her head in frustration. "I don't really have time for this."
"You don't just go around engaging, Dawes! You're part of Recon. Our objective is to get information so the lads at E2 can do their job."
"But sir, I found these civilians in sector five and I could not very well leave them for the Cryllians!"
"Not an excuse! You disobeyed direct orders!"
Fletch could feel Richter getting weaker. His heartbeat was fading. He looked to Goram, whose temper seemed to be seething again. If the circumstances were different, perhaps he would have kept him in check. But not now. Not when these bastards were keeping Richter from getting the hell he needed. He nodded to Goram. What the hell, he seemed to say. Go ahead.
Goram was not a patient man by nature. He'd kept his temper at the notion of following a stranger into the middle of God knows where. He kept his mouth shut at hours and hours of winding tunnels and dropping from heights. Hell, he even bit his tongue at being forced to crouch down in a glorified crawl space. But it had to be said, even with much self control on his part, the man bellowing in front of him was not in for a happy ending if he blocked them from medical help for one moment longer.
As soon as he got the green light from Fletch, the Watch's inadvert moral compass, he grabbed the irritating man's collar and slammed his body to the ragged cave wall. "Infirmary! Now!" he threatened.
Almost immediately, the lackeys around him whipped out their guns and pointed them straight for his head. Goram laughed. He reached for Richter's back pocket, pulling out his wand. The only one he hadn't snapped. "Two syllables from my mouth and this place will be crawling with Cryllians," He didn't care if it was taking a leaf off Richter's book. What did it matter anyway. The odds were with him. He tightened his grip.
Ciaran cocked an eyebrow, regarding Goram's shear guts. Eventually waved the others off.
"This conversation is not over," he warned Nora. "Go ahead. Take them to the infirmary."
Goram released him, snapping the last wand as a show of good faith. Nora grabbed his wrist and led them through. She didn't seemed all too pleased, rightfuly so.
"That was very stupid! I was handling it!" she twisted his wrist.
"By the way you were handling it, my friend could have very well died on the spot!"
Hard headed. Proud. Obviously idealistic. A dangerous combination. Goram had been fighting all of his life, ever since his father had joined the watch and brought them out of the grid. Ever since his he was given the mark on his arm. Ever since he became a member of the Watch's leaders. He knew what it took to keep on fighting. Nora had spirit. But it was her kind that would be the first to die in wars like these. He said nothing more, simply followed her. He helped Fletch carry the weight of Richter's body. They ran, quick as their feet could take them. Passed crowds and narrow alcoves. Passed on lookers and curious faces. Goram could see them all. Civilians no doubt. Despite the urgency of the situation, he couldn't help but think. What the hell had happened since they had left? What had they done?
They went down a cellar door, going deeper underground. Water dripping from the stony ceilings. Goram was the first to go down, helping ease Richter's body inside.
"Nora! Is that you? They told me you were - Richard!"
He turned recognizing the voice. Goram's eyes widened in recognition. "What the hell are you doing here?"
She swept up her dark hair, tying it in a bun as she approached him. "I should be asking the same thing."
Last time they'd seen any of the old gang was the day before they left England. He could remember Toren telling them of his plans. To leave, lie low. Telling them that they should go into hiding too. Until the time was right, he said. Until we can be given a window of opportunity. She was one of the many who objected. Idealists. They all were at one time. Seeing an old face like that so suddenly, especially hers. Goram didn't know whether to expect a handshake or a slap in the face.
Fletch and Nora jumped down and the same expression dawned his face as soon as he saw her. "Lalita?"
"I take it you know each other?" asked Nora.
"We knew each other from a while back," she nodded tentatively. "Stop gawking, all of you. Put him on the table and let's get a look-see."
Goram quickly did as he was told, careful not to bump Richter's head as he lay him down. He stepped back, not wanting to get in the way as Lalita and Fletch swarmed around him, checking his vitals.
"He's been unconscious for three days," Fletch informed her. "Received severe trauma in the anterior abdominal wall resorting to several contusions and hematoma. Treatment thus far has been 5cc of Gripner's every 6 hours...that was until we ran out."
"And when was that?"
"A day ago."
"Don't worry. You did the right thing. It's good that he has the fever. Gripner's side effect. Means the potion is still working. We'll keep up with the dose along with 10cc of yellow-root and a Ranline drip to help counter-act the fever."
He hadn't noticed how bad of a state Richter was in. Goram understood nothing of their medical claptrap, but from the looks on their faces, he could probably guess what it meant. He hung back, leaning on the wall with a freshly lit cigarette on his lips. Richter would be fine. He always pulled through. Like he told Fletch, Richter Osbourne was one tough bastard.
Nora, on the other hand, was another story. Her neck was still bleeding somewhat. Not as small a nick as he'd thought. He reached in the breast pocket of his trenchcoat for a flask. The last he had of Ireland's finest. "It'll make you feel better," he offered it to here. "No hard feelings, yeah?"
She took it, pouring some of the contents on her neck before covering it with some gauze. "No hard feelings," she concurred.
"Wouldn't want to break a tender moment, but you best go outside, Nora. I can sort it out from here. Besides, I'd expect that Ciaran would want a few words with you. And you know how my darling husband can get," Lalita smiled.
He knew that smile. Goram knew that smile well. She wanted to get rid of this girl. No doubt so they could all have a proper chat. Or rather an interrogation. Perhaps even a scourging, if she hadn't changed.
Unwittingly, Nora smiled back. "Wish me luck," she winked at Lalita. Nora gave Goram back the flask and made her way up the ladder and to the upper levels again.
The hatch closed, and Goram heard a familiar click. Turning round, he found himself face-to-face with the barrel of Lalita's gun.
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