Chapter 40 : The Tale of Cadmus Peverell
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Over the two years that followed, Cadmus watched in silence. Godric had returned, and after the tragedy of Rowena’s premature death, he had brought some light relief to the otherwise gloomy castle. The people had been overjoyed to see their hero back, the lover of their immortalised heroine, the beautiful damsel Rowena. He brought order to the chaos in the castle, and helped to revive Helga and Rachel’s drive.
At first, Cadmus had held his tongue, convinced he could bring himself to live with his long time rival to keep Rowena’s memory alive, the very same reason why Godric himself was staying. Once again it was comforting to have the gruff presence of Godric at the centre of the teachers table, Helga and Artemisia either side of him. For a brief moment, Cadmus thought that it could again be like the old days.
However, a month after the death of Queen Rowena the castle was dragged back into an even more pitiful state. The bodies of Helena Ravenclaw and Guillaume Malfoy had been found in a forest in Byzantium, and that just increased the concoction of emotions swilling around Cadmus. It added guilt for their deaths to his mix of grief for Rowena, relief for the end of the tense wait for Rowena’s death and jealousy of Godric.
Godric had not deserved what he had been given. He had not deserved that last minute reprieve that Rowena had bequeathed him. Hot tears stung his eyes when he thought of it; life was so unfair. Cadmus had adored her secretly for years and had been loyal to her forever for her to be snatched out of his hands by death and Godric.
He sat in his chamber, perfectly alone knowing he could not let himself stew over all this as he silently tore himself apart. Cadmus pulled out a scrap of parchment from his desk; he would write his thought, his pains, and his hopes. He would write about the decision he had made. Getting a quill and dipping it in ink, he began to write.
I know what I must do. I must prove to the world that I am not a mediocre man. My mother was a poor woman and did not dream of greatness, only surviving, but my brothers did. Antioch, though long dead, created the perfect wand that cost him his life. My other brother, Ignotus, helped to build this school into what it is today, made that amazing invisibility cloak, made a happy marriage and helped found a town, a refuge for our kind. I will be like them; I will be a great man.
Rowena never knew how deep my love ran for her, to what depths I would have fallen for her, for one smile, for one kiss. I must prove to her that she gave her love to an unworthy man, a man who should never have had her. Her life was cut cruelly short, she had years left. So that is why I have decided I will bring back Rowena from beyond. She will be alive again.
It was harder than Cadmus expected. Every day he would lock himself away, researching the ancients for signs of how it could be accomplished. There were whisperings in old texts and Cadmus followed each and every one; many were dead ends, but other’s spoke of a stone that turned three times could resurrect the dead.
Rachel could only watch as Cadmus wearied himself, never telling her what he was doing. He knew it would only break her heart and he had done that too many times. But he tried and tried, becoming more successful by the day. He discovered that blood, sweat and desire was what was needed to make the stone work.
He had been down by the Hogwarts Lake skimming when he had chanced across the pebble that he knew he would make his stone out of. It felt warm in his hand, like it had been waiting for him to find it. Running back to the castle, he had polished it and then made it ready for the spells that would need to be performed.
It took him two long years. Every day he would add more spells, dip it in potions and curse it to make what he wanted materialise. He pictured Rowena as she had been when she was sweet and seventeen, so alive. Now she was in the cold earth far from anyone to hold her and love her. Maybe she was in eternal darkness; maybe that was what followed death. He did not want to leave her to that.
The stone was nearing completion, and Cadmus could almost feel it growing in strength in his hands. This was going to be greater than the objects either of his brothers had invented, and it was going to make him immortal. He could be with Rowena forever; they could leave the castle together and escape everything that had ever entrapped them.
Finally the day came when Cadmus was sure that the stone would work, that he would see Rowena again. But he trembled with fear; he was to be the master of death, the master of all that he had known to be true. With this stone, he would turn the world on its head. Rowena would be waiting for him.
I have decided the best thing I can do is write. In the whole of God’s Creation there is not a single person I can talk to and confess the feelings I hold deep within me. Antioch lies dead in an unmarked grave along the road to Nottingham and Ignotus, well, I can never speak to him again. He will never understand what possessed me to create this work of pure beauty. Tonight I will use it, and I will see her again.
I remember the last week I spent with her, the best and worst week of my life. It was the best because I watched her pale body bathed in moonlight, her eyes alight with appreciation for my being with her. It was the worst week of my life because she had so many regrets, she lamented so much. It was also the worst week of my life because I knew she was dying.
I still see her every day. Even when my dear wife Rachel is flitting around me like a bird, cooking, cleaning and raising our children, I can only think of her. Oh, what an ungrateful person I am! My wife loves me, and has since the day we married, but I could never return that love. The only woman who has had control of my heart is the one I lost two years ago.
I lost her before then really. I was never the one to lose her. She was free like the wind, going wherever she felt like. Maybe she loved me once, for an hour or two, but I never held her heart for all time. The week she lay dying, the Sickening racking her body, I sat by her. I watched her pale skin lose the little colour it had day by day, and I watched her jet black hair become lanker. Her midnight blue eyes that had always been so entrancing lost their sparkle.
The first thing she cried out for was her missing daughter, Helena. I sent the Baron to find her so I could stay by her side. Then she cried for him, and she did not stop. Nobody knew where Godric Gryffindor had gone, the man I hated with all my heart. The father of her children was not there to see the process of her dying. But I was. I was there holding her hand when the life evaporated from Rowena Ravenclaw.
So that’s why I’m going to do it. Helga misses her terribly. Godric does not seem to care. Salazar is gone. But I miss her more than all the world. Her death was without dignity and it was unnecessary. She should never have died, she had years ahead of her and they were snatched away from her. So that is why I must do it. That is why I must dare to incur the wrath of Mother Nature. I must bring Rowena Ravenclaw back from the dead. Signed, Cadmus Peverell
He cleared the room, space for her appearance. Biting hard on his lip slightly relieved the tension, and he had to take a swig of mead to calm himself. The stone was balanced in the middle of his hand, his family’s crest staring out at him. All the old texts said the same thing; all he had to do was turn it three times and she would be with him.
Not thinking of his wife or his children, of Helga or Godric or his only remaining brother, he stepped forward. Tonight he would make history. He thought of her when she was at her best, not dying in pain. All the old texts said she would be more wondrous than she had ever been in life, even better than that beautiful seventeen year old girl who had broken his heart that night so many years ago.
One. He turned it in his hands; he was sure he could see the dust in the air moving and his hairs stood on end. It was almost as if he could feel her presence or hear her laugh in a distant corridor. Cadmus swore he could see her shadow across the wall, her whispering tone surrounding him. No one could ever love her more than he did.
Two. Wanting to see her, he imagined he could hear her breath and see her smile lighting her face. She would no longer be a Queen and he would no longer be the son of peasant’s, they would just be two people who were equal having overcome Death together. Smiling at the thought, he gazed back down at the stone.
Three. Swearing he could hear something behind him, he span round, expecting to see her smiling face, her arms outstretched, telling him how much she loved him. She would tell him how ridiculous she had been in the past, giving her life to the showman Godric when there was a more earnest, loyal love coming from Cadmus. But she was not there.
He froze. It was her. He could never mistake that voice, that voice like silk. He had heard her yell, scream and rage, but her voice was now unbearably tender, as if she was confused and on the verge of tears. When he turned round, he saw her radiance that had been absent for so many years. He nearly cried.
She was all in white, her hair blowing around her in spite of there being no wind. Gone were the flecks of grey in her hair, she was once again seventeen. Her skin was pale, but there was a silvery glow to it, the colour of starlight. Her cheeks were rosy, like she was flushed with life after having run a very long way. He supposed she had.
“Cadmus?” she questioned, not moving. He ran towards her, his heart hammering in his chest. For a moment she looked so innocent and naïve as he took her in his arms and kissed her as he had wanted to for years. Her kiss was gentle in response, and she pursed her lips slightly to reciprocate.
“I did it,” he smiled, “you are here! You are with me! I will never be parted from you!” Holding her in his arms, he could not help but kiss her cheeks and run his hands through her hair, his eyes consuming her image. “It’s you, it’s you, it is you! I just can’t believe it, I really did it, I really defeated death.”
“Cadmus, what have you done?” asked Rowena, “why am I here? I was gone; I was gone away from here. Why am I here? Have you changed the world Cadmus? Why have you tried to defeat death?” He silenced her with a kiss, and her words stopped. He felt euphoric; it was what he had always wanted.
Rowena is here, with me in this room. I can see her so clearly. All it took was three turns of my marvellous invention, the Peverell Stone. I have engraved my family’s crest on it so the whole world will know it was me who defeated death, who brought my love back to this world. She looks as she always had, beautiful to the last. Her long ebony hair falls to her waist and her aquiline features still inspire me. What am I to say? I have everything back. Rowena is here beside me, ready to give me back all the love I have ever given her. I can never ask for anything more. Signed, Cadmus Peverell
The nights were growing colder and Rachel could not sleep. She had woken to find Cadmus gone from beside her, and there was no warmth trapped in the sheets, making her assume that he had been gone a long time. Hauling herself to her feet, she decided to go and find him and call him back to bed. It did not do anyone any good wandering around this freezing cold castle at night.
She decided to go to his office. It was there he spent hours whiling away hours on pointless dreams. He never confided in her what he did. When together, he only commented on the weather or their children’s activities. They never talked anymore. What could she say to him when she knew he only valued her for a passing resemblance to Rowena?
Tonight was not for deep conversation, but she vowed tomorrow that they would talk about the future, and discuss what needed to be done. He needed to know that she loved him, and she needed to know if he had ever felt anything other than a passing fancy for her. Tears welled in her eyes at the thought of his betrayal; he could have left her to bury her love for him and find someone who really deserved her.
To her surprise, from the end of the corridor that contained his office, she could hear crying. It was a deep sob, and Rachel could recognise her husband’s tone anywhere. She felt a great surge of emotion and though she would want to run him and hold him, and that everything would be alright. But she calmed herself and walked up the corridor slowly, wanting to discover what he was so upset about.
“Please look at me,” came his voice, broken by emotion, “tell me you forgive me for what I have done! Please!” His pleading tone terrified Rachel and the fact that he was not alone made horrible images come into her head. Maybe he was in serious debt and the collector was threatening him or maybe he was in inner turmoil.
“I can’t look at you,” came the voice. Rachel froze to the spot; it was not possible. She must have been imagining things; there was no way that could have been Rowena’s voice. She had been dead for two years. Rachel felt like she had been stabbed, but slowly made her way up the passage, her heart hammering in her chest.
She found the door of Cadmus’ office ajar, and not being able to resist she peered through. What she saw was sure to stay in her mind until the day she died. There stood a smoky grey vision of Rowena, tears pouring down her pale face. She looked as if she was decaying or slowly falling apart.
“Rowena,” Cadmus whispered, “I thought you would be happy. I thought we could be happy together. I thought I could bring you back to how you once were. I thought it would work!” Descending into tears, Rachel heard Cadmus fall to the floor. “Rowena, I thought you would love me!”
Rachel froze. This was the ultimate betrayal; he was willing to give up everything with her for a brief moment with Rowena. “No Cadmus,” came Rowena’s other-worldly voice, “you are married to Rachel, I could never do that to her. And anyway, why would I want to leave where I was? I was somewhere so peaceful and quiet just waiting, waiting for the day when you would all greet me as a friend once more.”
Rachel had heard enough. She turned on her heel and dashed down the corridor trying to hide the tears that welled in her eyes. He had done something so terrible, turned the rules of the world on its head, all for the love of Rowena. It was as if Rachel had never been of any consequence, a secondary thought. Rachel felt like she had never been seen, drowned in the radiant light of Rowena Ravenclaw.
“Please Cadmus! I implore you with all the love in my heart, send me back. I’m not meant to be here. I died; I was washed away like a pebble on the beach. I was never meant to return. I was lost to you, to Godric, to Rachel and to Helga. It was I that had to wait for you on the other side, and there was no way I was able to be brought back. You broke the laws of nature, the laws of life Cadmus, when bringing me back. Why can’t you see that?”
I can’t do this anymore. She cries all the time, begging me to send her back. How can I? I cannot bear to be parted from her! She tells me she was in heaven, a place where she was at peace. But her eyes brim with tears every time I see her turning away. She hates me for bringing her back, not love me. I must send her back, but I will not be parted from her. We will depart this life, hand in hand, together. Signed, Cadmus Peverell.
The dagger that Cadmus had removed from his belt glinted in the firelight. He watched her; he could never help but gazing at her. She looked grey and smoky and her eyes were downcast. Her beautiful face was awash with glassy tears. “Please look at me Rowena,” Cadmus begged, “I can’t stand it.”
“You do not understand what you have done!” rebuked Rowena, “you do not understand how you have changed this world, how you have broken others hearts! And yet you are not sorry! You do not see that your love for me has ruined so many lives!” Cadmus could not believe these words came from her mouth.
“Rowena,” he bellowed suddenly, his voice ringing off the cobbled walls, “you cannot tell me about broken hearts! You cannot lecture me about ignoring other’s feelings! Men would have lived and died for you and yet you treated them like chess pieces! I would have run away with you to the end of the world if you had wanted to, Salazar would have forgotten his anger and stayed by your side. Yet you only ever thought of Godric! A man who ran away from you! So do not tell me about breaking other’s hearts!”
Cadmus dropped to the floor, a weight suddenly lifting from his chest, “you have used me and betrayed me. I have always been there for you, willingly waiting. Yet you never looked, you never even noticed.”
Rowena seemed to fade slightly as she gazed at him. “You must let me go Cadmus.” He tried to protest, but she spoke over him. “It is wrong what you have done, and it is no good for you to waste your life with me, a projection of smoke and mirrors. You can’t do this; you have Rachel, you have your children.”
“All that is a lie,” mumbled Cadmus, “I only ever wanted you.”
Rowena sighed, “Just turn the stone. Let me go, let me go back to where I belong.” Cadmus looked up at her incredulously. Why was she not understanding him? He could never let her go. He stood up, running towards her with the anger and pain of a lifetime of unrequited love. Hoping fervently she would understand, he grasped her translucent hand.
“I will turn it,” he agreed, “but I refuse to let you go alone.” Gripping her hand forcefully, he began to turn the stone. Surely it would understand his intention, and Rowena held her mouth open into a shocked “o” before he finished turning. “Three,” he breathed, as the stone turned in his palm for the third time.
Then it all went black.
“I am telling you Helga,” implored Rachel, “I know what I saw. It was Rowena in Cadmus’ room; they were talking. They were both crying and arguing.” Helga did not look particularly convinced, so Rachel continued, “Helga I know what I saw. I know I saw Rowena.” Helga sighed but did not turn back instead continuing up the corridor.
Rachel had decided to bring Helga along as she felt she was the only one who would understand. She knew it would cause Godric too much pain, so it was with Helga that she carefully snuck up the passage leading to Cadmus’ office. Rachel could tell that Helga was scared; her eyes were wide and she fiddled nervously with the hem of her sleeve.
“Are you sure Rachel? Do you really believe that it was Rowena? She would never come back as a ghost, never! How could she be here if she wasn’t a ghost?” Helga looked very confused, so Rachel turned round to face her. Rachel knew what she had seen and she was convinced she was not going mad.
“I know my husband,” said Rachel hoarsely, trying to hide the tears, “and I know he loves Rowena. He’s loved her since he was young and only married me as I had a passing resemblance to her, nothing more. If Rowena was in his office it was of his making. You may think he is a mediocre man but I know different. If he wanted Rowena to come back, she would have.”
Rachel marched off down the corridor with Helga running behind her. On reaching Cadmus’ office, she wanted to give him no time to think, no time to plan or hide what he had done. Withdrawing her wand, she pointed it resolutely at door and blasted it off its hinges with a well aimed jinx. Squinting through the darkness, the two women tried to make out what was within.
In the darkness they saw a figure slumped over his desk. Running into the room, the two women suddenly noticed the stain of blood on the carpet, and the knife tarnished with death having fallen from Cadmus’ hand. Helga let out a blood curdling scream as Rachel dashed into the room, turning Cadmus over. It took all her resolve to not fall to the floor when she saw the dark hole in his chest.
“No!” shouted Rachel, desperately shaking Cadmus as if to wake him from his eternal sleep, “why did you do this? Why condemn yourself to this all for a hopeless love!” Anger roared in her as she screamed, pounding Cadmus’ corpse as if he could still hear her bitter cries. “Your children! Did you ever think of anything but her?”
Suddenly she felt the soft arms of Helga tying themselves around her and gently moving her away. “It doesn’t help. Being angry at him will never make the pain go away!” But Rachel was incandescent, too angry to think of anything but how Cadmus had been so willing to betray her. Pulling herself away from Helga, not wanting to hear any condolences, she stormed over to Cadmus.
“Why?” she bellowed so the whole castle could hear, “why have you never loved me?” But there was no answer, and there never would be an answer. Dissolving into tears, Rachel stormed from the room, leaving Helga the task of arranging for someone to move the body. But she did not care. Her love for Cadmus had never been returned and he had selfishly taken himself from her and their children.
And it was all Rowena’s fault.
The days and weeks that followed passed in a blur. Cadmus was smuggled from the castle in secrecy; the school needed no more scandal. It was a very quiet funeral only attended by Cadmus’ friends and closest family. Ignotus and Coventina arrived hurriedly and departed just as quickly, wanting to cry by their brother’s graveside but avoid the entrapments of the castle.
Much to Rachel’s disgust, he was buried near Rowena, the woman he had died for. There was no great outpouring of grief; he died how he lived; unrecognised and forgotten. But Rachel would never forget. She would find out what had driven him to his untimely end. Knowing it was the image of Rowena she had seen, she began to search through the papers that he had left behind.
As she sifted through the mountain of papers, she discovered what Cadmus had been toiling on through the last two years. He had been trying to find a way to bring people back from the dead. Rachel sobbed as she read his journal; he had been desperate and pathetic. She finally knew what he had been feeling; inadequate in comparison to his brothers, undesirable in Rowena’s eyes and an outright failure. By bringing Rowena back, he would achieve greatness.
She had discovered the stone, what it meant and its connotations. Resolving to destroy it, she had emptied his office, rooting it out. Eventually she found it and placed it in the middle of the floor. Trying every spell she thought of she tried to blast it to pieces, rip it apart and set in of fire but nothing worked. It resolutely sat there laughing at her.
She hissed angrily. Not only had she failed at being his wife she could not even avenge his death my destroying that infernal stone. Screaming, she shot a series of jinxes at it, but it stayed there, totally indestructible. Needing to show she was deserving of Cadmus, she shot spells at it that she had used in her days combating dragons. But nothing worked.
Hysterically, she collapsed to the floor her tears rolling down her cheeks. Why could she not do it? What enchantments had Cadmus put on his precious invention? Then suddenly she remembered; there was something she hadn’t tried, but up until now she had been too afraid. To her, the unforgivable curses were the worst type of magic, but was it possible they could be used for good?
Suddenly a memory came flooding back to her; the Unforgivable Curses. She could use one, she knew how to do it. The night of Godric and Salazar’s great battle came back to her. To use a Unforgivable Curse meant you had to mean it. You had to feel the hate coursing through your blood, like Salazar’s hate for Godric.
Lifting her wand, she thought of the great injustice of her life. Nobody had ever loved her, she had been cheated and abused. The hate of the truth welled up inside her, and the anger exploded from her. She knew she could use the spell.
The green light shot from her wand, but the stone resisted, bouncing the green light towards her. Rachel did not even have the time to let out the scream of rage, anger or shock as it sunk into her chest. She expected pain, but nothing came. Instead, the embrace of death was warm and loving and she held onto it earnestly.
Sorry this chapter has been so long but it was so hard to write! I hope you thought my characterisation was right. If you want to continue reading the story of the Resurrection Stone, please read my next Gen story "From Ancient Grudge". Leaving a lovely review would also be appreciated. Next time...Twenty years have passed and Salazar evaluates his life while Helga realises that wars are never over...
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