Chapter 1 : Prologue
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Perfect chapter image by Arithmancy_wiz @ TDA
Author’s Note: Hello and welcome to my new novella “Willoway”. As you may have read in the summary, this story was inspired by one the creepiest horror films of all time, The Wicker Man (the original version, not the icky Nick Cage remake ^_^). Since The Wicker Man deals with old magic (of a sort) I thought it would be interesting to apply the concept to the HP universe. After a bit of plotting, I came up with this very weird story. I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of Rowling’s work. All OCs mentioned herein belong to me.
When Tonks came to, she was lying under the craggy lip of a gully about a mile from the village high street. Uncurling her bruised legs, she dragged herself out into the fiendish morning sunlight where balmy breezes teased her cheeks.
Well, that’s a surprise, she thought. I’m alive.
Ignoring fatigue and pain, she remembered the basics of her defense training. First thing’s first, Moody had always told her. Find your weapon.
Wand. Where was her wand?
Her aching fingers slipped into the pockets of her dirty policewoman’s uniform. Dammit! She’d lost it.
Or they’d taken it from her.
Tonks now knew that she was just as helpless as poor Sergeant Brodie.
The memory of him drove her to her feet in a blind panic. Pressing her fists to either side of her head, she fought her way through the fragments of recollection and horror that had gathered in her mind the night before.
It had happened quickly. They were in the empty taproom of the village tavern. Noises of the coming May Day celebrations drove Brodie and her outside into the tumult of bacchanalian revelry. But the mummers of Willoway wore masks of death and one by one, the villagers had turned on them. And Tonks alone had escaped.
But where was Sergeant Brodie?
She shook her head, shutting out all irrationality. No, not dead. They needed him still. If her guesses were right, they would keep him alive for most of May Day…until the sacrifice.
A sudden wave of unrelenting nausea caused her to double over and retch. Tonks spilled the measly contents of her gut into the heather beneath the overhanging lip. She wiped her mouth on her sleeve and ducked back into the cool shade.
No, this simply would not do. She needed to contact the Ministry. Her final Auror exam didn’t matter any more…a man’s life was at stake.
Tonks swallowed the putrid lump in her throat and unwillingly, forced her feet to move. Emerging from the gully, she noticed that the sky was still an eggshell blue to the west. The sun had only just risen.
Time. She had time at least.
Dragging herself up a small hill and into a meadow that bordered the roadside, Tonks promptly stripped off her black policewoman’s jacket and left it lying in the weeds. The disguise would do her no good now. Curious Muggles were the very least of her worries, what with a murderous, heathen populace of wizards fencing her in like a trapped March hare.
The situation, she surmised, was indeed bleak.
She had no wand, no contact with the Ministry and no way off the remote Scottish island that held her prisoner.
Keep calm, reason told her and increasingly, Tonks wished her three years of extensive Auror training would start to kick in.
But maybe she wasn’t meant to be an Auror. After all, hadn’t she thoroughly screwed up her first solo assignment?
In the end, she wouldn’t mind failing so much, if only she could assure that Sergeant Brodie made it out alive with her.
Poor man. He was helpless, even as a Muggle policeman. And if she didn’t get to him soon, he’d be dead.
But I can’t think this way. Not now.
She had to approach her dilemma logically, as Moody had taught her when she had first been accepted into the Auror program.
Tonks still had her metamorphmagus abilities. She could alter her appearance, making herself unrecognizable to any of the island’s inhabitants and then sneak into a home to steal either a broom or a wand.
It wasn’t a perfect plan, but it was a plan, nonetheless.
Climbing over a stile, she hopped down into a pasture and waded her way through the dewy grass. Littered about the ground she noticed half-rotten crabapples and cringed.
All this, all this mess over some stupid fruit.
In mounting frustration, she kicked one of the apples and sent it sailing.
Constant vigilance, old Moody had drilled into her adolescent brain. He would be disappointed in his student now. If only she hadn’t allowed her attention to wander, if only she hadn’t been so outright stupid. Maybe then she would have noticed the underlying evil lurking on the beguiling island of Willoway. Maybe then she would have been able to keep Sergeant Brodie out of harm’s way and call for back-up from the Ministry to set things right.
Tonks came to the end of the pasture and with some difficulty, lifted herself over the fence. The mossy beams lodged splinters under her palms
She hissed sharply and ignored her smarting hands. This little hurt was nothing compared to the pain Brodie would be in if she didn’t sort things out. Even though the policeman was resourceful, she doubted he could escape his captors alive.
But in the end, they were both trapped, weren’t they?
Tonks pulled her sore feet over the fence slats, wondering just why she and Brodie hadn’t caught on to the true nature of things from the start.
Despite his shrewdness, the Sergeant was unfortunately short-sighted when it came to things beyond the realm of reality. He could have never foreseen the deadly turn things would take. Who would, really?
Willoway was a pretty little island with simple-minded folk and rustic, if not outdated, traditions. Who would have guessed the malicious currents simmering beneath the neat cobblestone lanes and quaint cottages?
Tonks hadn’t. She had expected her first solo mission for the Ministry to be a petty, simplistic thing. And so had Brodie.
Neither of them had been prepared for the primitive truth behind the rituals of the secluded islanders. In the end, they were both utterly over their heads and perhaps that was why they had…
Tonks dropped down on the other side of the fence, stiffening when she heard the whine of a bagpipe come drifting over the hills.
The chanter was soon joined by the hollow, rhythmic precision of a beating drum. Giddy tambourines and bells chimed in.
Oh, how she knew that tune!
Falling to her knees, Tonks hid herself behind the scruffy roadside grass, which had grown high as spring approached.
The villagers of Willoway were approaching and with them they brought the ancient days of magic…the hallowed festivities of May Day.
What passed before her was the most grotesque procession Tonks reckoned she’d ever see.
Men and women in odd-fitting animal masks capered over the road, raising loose dust and dragging ragged ribbons through the already warm air.
The band past by first, followed by the children with garlands in their hair and no shoes on their roughened feet.
White ceremonial robes were darkened with dirt. Women laughed shrilly.
Tonks wanted to stop her ears against the menacing noise, but the song, ah the song was a charmed thing itself. She could not help but listen.
And they were singing, all of them. Singing that ugly pastoral hymn, that melody of the olden days when blood could not easily be separated from water and meaningless incantations represented the most holy of rites.
“Summer is Icumen in,
Loudly sing, cuckoo!
Grows the seeds and blows the mead;
And springs the wood anew.
There was only one man not singing. Sergeant Brodie. Tonks swallowed a miserable scream when she saw him, not in his police uniform, but garbed in their wicked white robes.
There was no time now.
Brodie would be dead in an hour.
Author’s Note: Like I said, weird, right? The prologue starts in medias res (in the middle of things) so if you’re confused, that’s perfectly all right. Everything will be explained in the next chapter. The song in this chapter is commonly known as The Cuckoo Song or Sumer Is Icumen In, an English round that originated in the 13th century.
In the next chapter, young Auror-in-training Tonks visits a Scottish constabulary to begin her first solo mission for the Ministry and meets a peculiar, uptight Muggle police sergeant. I should have it posted no later than the 29th.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read! If you have a spare moment, please leave a review. I would absolutely love to hear from you. Also, I must thank psychee and TheEmpress from TGS for helping me sort out this first chapter.
I hope you have a great week!