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Chapter 2 : Precious Cargo
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Edited and revised: 1/13/13
stunning chapter image by bellatrixx @ TDA
- Year 1234 -
When Dominique awoke she expected to find herself on the floor of her bedroom, but when her eyes opened she was met with completely unexpected surroundings. She blanched as she felt smooth blades of lush, green grass tickle her cheeks. It took her a moment to fathom just what had happened. And even once she was certain she was lying in a heap amongst the grass, she could not understand it. Last she remembered she was on the floor of her bedroom at her flat. She had spilled a few vials of the potions she would need on her mission, and then she had cut her hands on the glass on the wooden floor. Perhaps she had also snagged her uncle's cloak on the shattered pieces.
She knew she had passed out; that much was sure. So why was she awaking on the ground outside? Even further, it was a ground she did not recognize. It was not the sandy, gritty earth with champagne blades of grass and weeds. It was smooth, soft, and the color of a vibrant green.
She finally lifted her cheek from the grass and looked about her. Her mind raced for an answer when she did not recognize her location. It was not the green grass of the Hogwarts grounds or of anywhere else she could recall from memory. As she rose to her knees, she looked down to the ground beneath her. Lying in a heap she found her uncle's cloak still clenched tightly in her grasp.
She let go of it with one hand, rising to wipe the blood and potion from her cheeks, the other still holding the cloak tightly. She turned the cloak over in her grasp, inspecting it closely for any tears she may have caused. Pleased when she couldnít find any, she stumbled to her feet and whipped around. She could hear what sounded like the trotting of a horse some distance off. As she listened, it grew louder, seeming to be moving closer. Then she turned around and a man was riding at full speed upon his horse. He did not appear to be wearing modern clothing. If it was modern, it was neither wizarding nor muggle clothing. But rather he wore a white tunic loose about his body, a V shape cutting down the middle from his collar bone to his chest. The bottom of it was tucked into brown trousers, and the bottoms of the trousers were tucked into thin leather boots. A deep purple cape with embroidered edges hung loosely about his neck, flapping behind him as it hung askew. His hair was long, thick, and dark, and his face was lined with short facial hair.
Dominique's brow pulled together at the sight of him. Never in her life had she seen a man in such clothing and with such hair. She believed that, not being in his path, he would ride right by her. But his head traveled to the side, and at the sight of her, he did a double take as he rode by. She could feel as if their eyes were meeting as his horse sprinted by. His face, empty of all expression, returned to the plain before him, but he quickly did a double-take and looked back to Dominique as he passed her.
She stood blankly with her lips pursed as the man guided his horse to turn around. He slowed and finally came to a halt in front of her, the horse rearing up on its two back legs.
She didn't know what to do as she stood before him with her hair a mess, blood and potions smeared on her cheeks and hands, the cloak clenched tightly in one. She met his eyes, and his gaze immediately turned fierce. He pursed his lips in anger, letting go of the reigns to point at her uncle's cloak. "You, woman! Where did you find that?"
"What?" Dominique asked in confusion. She held the cloak tighter and tucked it under her arm. She promised her uncle she would hold onto it, and she would not break that promise. "What are you talking about?"
"That cloak! The cloak is what I am speaking of! How did you come to possess this?" he asked in frustration. His pointed hand turned into a clenched fist as he held back his anger. Dominique made a questioning face and pulled the thing deeper beneath her grasp.
The man quickly kicked his heels up into the thigh of his horse, urging the animal forward, and he latched onto Dominique's arm. She could feel her forearm bruising; his grip was tight, and he pulled her closer to him, gritting his teeth. "How did you come to possess this?!"
"It's mine! And it's none of your business. Now let go of me," hissed Dominique. She tried to yank her arm free, but the man had the advantage. He had strength and height on her; he also had a fierce determination about him that she couldn't quite place. Dominique, on the other hand, was simply trying to fathom the situation, one that the man seemed to be fully aware of.
"Release it!" he demanded.
"No. Why don't you release me?" she snarled at him. "It's mine."
"Fool. Why do you speak in such a tongue? Do not try to pass yourself as an illiterate to me! You cannot deceive me with this matter. I know the cloak is mine. There is no other like it," he said in a cruel voice.
"íSuch a tongue?í" Dominique repeated in an appalled voice. She was taken aback, and she retorted back with equal force. "I speak normally, thank you very much! Where the hell are you from?!"
"Godric's Hollow! Not far from here," he snapped, not seeming to understand her point. "But it is not any sort of hell. If there is a hell, it must be where you have come from!"
"What the...?" she muttered under her breath. If the man was correct and they really weren't far from Godric's Hollow, then she officially did not believe him to be sane in any shape or form. She knew the area of Godric's Hollow well. The Potters lived in Godric's Hollow, and the area was more developed than this. Godric's Hollow was a cozy and amicable village, sure, but the land around it had turned into other small villages, stores, shops, and a local park. This was nothing like the land near Godric's Hollow.
The man drew in a sharp breath, and he shook his head. His grip on her arm tightened and he decided to not carry out the conversation. In a swift move, he tugged on her arm and hauled her onto his horse in front of his body. She yelped at the swift movement and attempted to fight, but as soon as she was atop of it, he beckoned his horse to begin its run again.
"I have had enough of this foolish game," she heard him say against her ear.
"Let me go!" she shouted in front of his body. She swiped at the arms that were around her body, his fists clutching the reigns, creating a lock about her body.
"Not until you return what belongs to me," he said.
"I'm telling you. It doesn't belong to you! It's mine," she stated in a positive voice. This man was insane, surely.
"You are lying," he said. The horse reached full speed, and they were riding across the vast plain. Dominique looked about her as the land passed them by in a quick haze. It did not look like anything she had ever seen before. The air was clear, crisp. She could almost taste how fresh the air was with every inhale. The ground seemed to be greener than normal. Everything had a clean, warm, healthy, and fresh feel to it out there in the open plain.
She spotted a small village. The air around it was thick and heavy with smoke, and soon enough she realized that that small village was their destination. The man behind her who had so carelessly hauled her onto the horse and draped her body across it kicked his heels into the horse once more, and they picked up their speed until they were racing down the hill. Bouncing about the top of the creature in such a fashion was new to her. She scrambled to better adjust herself.
She was finally straddling the horse between her legs, and she clutched the horse's mane with her finger tips as it ran. The man behind her had his arms around her, making her escape impossible and holding her there securely. They entered the village soon enough, and he did not stop or slow down even as they reached the edge of it. The man had a goal, that much was clear, and he wouldn't let anything get in the way.
They raced past small houses, or buildings that could only be called houses, at least. It was a small village of shacks built out of cobblestone, wood, hay, and tree branches. Some were sloppy while others appeared to be precise in their architecture. Their windows did not have glass panes, but rather just an open gap with wooden shutters attached to the folds. The townspeople were busying themselves with day-to-day tasks that Dominique would rather wave a wand to accomplish. A woman was washing her clothing in a basin outside while her child enjoyed playing with the frayed ribbon she had clearly pulled from her hair.
Everyone's clothes were of dull colors; the richest color she had seen so far was the deep purple cape the man riding with her had tied about his neck. The seams of the clothes of those around her were carelessly or unskillfully done, and the bottoms were tattered and frayed. Some had stains from dirt or soot upon them. It seemed rather unclean; she could only imagine the layer of grime that had gathered beneath the nails of the man who was sharpening a blade outside of his home or workplace.
Everyone walked about, greeted one another with friendly faces in the village, traded and bartered their bread for something else like eggs, flour, or something tangible by other sorts such as fabric. Only then did Dominique realize how untimely it all seemed. She pursed her lips as the village raced by her, and she had the desperate urge to ask the man what year it was. Was it even possible that she had traveled to another time? Was that even possible when an incident didn't involve a time turner? Had her accidental concoction of potions, her uncle's cloak, and her own blood sent her back in time? She didn't make any rational decisions or speculations just yet. She waited patiently to find out just where she was being taken.
As they progressed deeper into the village, the ugly shacks began to space out, and as they did so, they became larger and more livable. There was definitely a drastic difference from where they began in the village to this point; it was as if it represented those with no money at all to those of particular wealth. She then realized that her captor must have a fair amount of wealth. Only as they went deeper did she begin to piece its appearance to that of the Godric's Hollow she knew. Of course, the buildings were not the same, but the streets were quite dignified, and she did ponder if there was any relation. When they zipped past a street with the words Gryffin Lane etched into the side of a residence did she finally piece it together and begin to recognize the familiar layout of the streets of her home.
It was Godric's Hollow. And that was when it struck her. She had to be in a different time.
They finally came to a stop outside a cobblestone home with a few open windows. The man hopped down, and quite out of element, Dominique did not know what to do other than wait. She watched him readjust his cape in an irritated fashion, then quickly tie the reigns of his horse to the wooden post outside. He slammed a bucket of water down in front of the creature, letting it lap up the water gingerly, before finally turning to Dominique. Without word or warning, he grabbed her by the arms and hauled her off of his horse and into the home.
He pushed her inside, and after she stumbled in, he followed and made haste in slamming the door shut. He barred it and then continued on to close the shutters of his window. It was then quite eerie inside the house. Only a small of light was poking into the room from the holes in the wooden windows. So the man went to light a few candles at a wooden table. The wax had long ago dripped down the long thing and clumped together on its metal holder. The light grew in the room and it became sufficient, but it was still very different to accommodate one's self to after living at Shell Cottage your entire life. She also couldn't help but notice how congested and thick the air inside the house felt. It didn't feel like that of the cottage at home. It was as if there was little room for the air to escape, but there was still an occasional draft that would sweep in from somewhere inside the walls.
Once there was light within the room, she watched the man move quickly to the stone staircase hidden discreetly behind a wall. He ordered for her to follow, and she did so obediently. He led her up the stairs and onto the second floor. He moved quickly through the few halls that there were and into a room on the far right-hand side. Like he had ordered, she followed in his tracks until they reached what she assumed was his bedroom. There were dusty objects about the room; a drawing of the man himself was perched in a corner, along with a mirror with scorched, black blotches on the surface and a gold frame. There was a trunk on the far side where she knew his clothing was, and a wooden rocking chair sat in the corner. His bed was made with a fine mahogany frame, and his sheets, like those of his cape, showed the wealth he must have possessed. They were made of a rich navy blue with gold embellishments here and there with tassels on each of the four corners.
He walked straight towards the bed where he flipped his sheets onto the mattress that must have been stuffed to the brim of cotton. It revealed the gap between the frame of his bed and the wood of the floor. He dropped to his knees, and Dominique jumped when there was a bustle behind her. A short, middle-aged woman pushed her way into the room. Her head was bowed, her hair pinned in a mess on top of her head, and she had a white apron tied about her waist with cooking flour wiped across the front. She spoke in a rushed and almost fearful voice. "I-I am sorry, my Lord. I did not reach you in time before you retreated to your quarters. Shall I take your cape?"
"Yes," he said dully. He fumbled with the golden ties about his neck before slipping it off and placing it in the woman's hands. He didn't pay her much mind, and at this, the woman's spirits seemed to lift if only barely.
"Is there anything else I may do for you?"
"No, thank you, Jocosa," dismissed the man. "If you will only shut the door on your way out, that will be all."
"Yes, my Lord," she said with a small nod of the head and she made haste for the door, shutting it behind her exactly as directed.
When it was just the two of them again, he continued his work. Dominique was still fascinated by him, his actions, his long hair and scruffy beard, his clothing, the entire house, that woman's actions. Nothing of it seemed to fit. It would only make sense if something completely ridiculous had happened: if she had gone back in time. This terrified her; it made her want to panic. It made her want to cut slits into her palms again, dump her uncle's invisibility cloak, and shove her hands into a mixing concoction again to send herself back home.
He put his hands under the bed and pulled out a black, heavy, metal trunk. He toyed with the locks, pushing and pulling pieces of metal from their holds to create the perfect combination that would allow the hinge to unlatch. Finally it made a soft click, and he opened the lid. He dug through its contents until he stopped in confusion. His hands emerged with an identical cloak within his grasp.
Dominique pursed her lips and watched with wide eyes as the man rose to his feet. He as well was lost and confused. He looked from one cloak to the next, utterly perplexed, as neither said a word. His demeanor changed from that of menacing and punishing to fearful, worrisome, and most of all apologetic. Dominique could begin to feel her fear for him diminishing. She no longer feared for her life while she was in his presence, but rather she began to pity him and his apologetic expression for lashing out at her so quickly. She stood still with her lips tightly pursed and her fingers unrelenting on the object in her grasp.
The man finally took a step forward so they could compare the objects more closely. Once he was certain they were identical, he raised his head to hers, and their eyes met. His were swimming with fear, but lodged deep inside, she saw a sense of hope form within him, as if she could be his saving grace. The words he spoke next perplexed her even further. She had to listen closely, for his voice was only a whisper then, and she had to make sure she had heard correctly.
"Have you seen Death too...?" He became still then and said no more.
He waited for her reaction, and it took many moments to be shown. Dominique had to gather her bearings. She finally blinked rapidly, shaking her head, and spluttering out, "What?!"
"Death...?" he questioned again.
"Are you..." she started, but then she didn't quite know where to take her question. She didn't really know what she had intended to ask. There were so many questions in her head, that was for sure, but she didn't even know where to begin.
"Yes?" he urged in questioning, that soft voice coming forth once more, and Dominique then knew there was no reason to fear him. He was gentle and humble; she had only come across him at a bad time and perhaps their introduction hadn't been the best. He had thought she had stolen something of his, and now she understood why. It was, after all, a very important item.
"Does yours....?" she started but faltered again. Luckily though, he picked up what she meant, and uneasily he let the cloak unfold, the bottoms of the fabric touching the floor as he held it up. Dominique did the same, holding it up. Once again, they were identical in not only pattern but also in size. She realized that he wouldn't go any further if she didn't. Just by his actions, she understood that this cloak was precious cargo to him, and he wasn't willing to let information about it slip into the wrong hands.
So she made the first move.
She separated the two folds of the cloak and eyed him to do the same. Once he followed, she swung it swiftly over her shoulders and disappeared into the room. Dominique looked in front of her, and the man who had just been standing before her had also vanished completely. She tried not to gasp, but after understanding that the very item draped over his body was also an invisibility cloak, she knocked the hood off of her head so the man could see her.
He did the same, and their expressions were both that of fascination. He asked her before she could even find the words to ask herself. "Where did you come across this?"
"It's a family heirloom," she answered simply.
"From my uncle.It's been in his family for centuries," she said in an uneasy voice. She was trying to read his expressions and reactions to determine just what his thought process was. He reached out to feel the fabric of her cloak. Not like he had expected anything else, but it held the same silky feeling as it ran through his fingers. He let it flutter back against her body, the folds of the cloak no longer creating silvery ripples in the air.
"And did he get it from...Death?"
She blinked once again, and then did she not only begin to question the man's gentleness but also his sanity. What was he talking about? Death? Unless...
Without trying to seem too forward, she turned the conversation around on him, postponing the source of the cloak for as long as she could manage. She decided it would be an easy enough task to demand a name from him. That was generally the order of things before people began to discuss one's family heirlooms. "I'm sorry. Who are you?"
"Forgive me for not introducing myself. I am Ignotus Peverell, son of Yrian Peverell. What is your name, miss?" It did not go unnoticed to her how he stood straighter when he said his name, as if he were proud of who he was.
She wanted to choke in surprise. How could that be possible? When she realized he was patiently awaiting her response, she cleared her throat "D-Do-Dominique," she gasped, slightly embarrassed. She was surprised she was even able to utter a word after what she had just heard.
Was it really true? Of course, she had already gathered all the evidence she needed unless she was going crazy or was senile. But was she really standing before Ignotus Peverell? One of the three brothers of the creators of the Deathly Hallows itself? Was she really in the 1200s?
There was only one way to find out, and that way wouldn't be able to pass without making her appear to be slightly insane. She hadn't even caught him muttering quietly about how odd her name was. She listened to him say it quietly, so foreign to his tongue. He touched the tip of his tongue as he tried to roll his 'o' with the correct vowel sound, but he somehow kept coming out with what sounded like 'Dome-in-eek.'
"What year is it...?"
Ignotus blanched but finally answered plainly. "1234."
"Oh, Merlin. I need to sit down..." she muttered. She stepped out of the cloak and let it fall on the wooden floor. She clutched her forehead and immediately felt herself feel faint. She needed to sit down. With her sweaty palms now pressed against her forehead, she realized she became fully aware of her bleeding and cut palms. In the commotion of everything, she had completely forgotten. Now she was aware entirely of the pain it was shooting up her arms. She didn't even acknowledge him or ask for permission before she fell onto Ignotus' bed and put her head between her knees with a soft groan.
She was aware of his gaze on her, confused by her actions and not knowing what to do. She didn't cry; she didn't do anything but groan and question how she had gotten there for several minutes until she remembered her first mission to occur the following morning.
Her head jolted in the direction of the shut windows, the sunlight seeping in. If time were on the same spectrum as that of her home year, hours would surely have passed from the moment she had cut her hands till now. It had been nighttime when her accident occurred. The sun was now bright and shining, and she would say the time was nearing noon. If the time were to be parallel, she would have missed her arrival time by hours.
That was when she panicked.
She jumped from the bed and paced the windows. She crouched to peak through one of the gaps; she looked to verify that there was in fact sunlight as if she hadn't been outside just a mere five minutes ago and had seen the light for herself. She clutched her head and pulled on her strawberry blonde locks. "Have to get home, have to get home."
"Very well. I apologize for what I did to you just now. You have to understand why I was afraid now, but I have my cloak and you have yours. Now we can both be on our way. I can take you anywhere you need."
"Have to get home...." she muttered again.
"My horse is just outside. We can go now if you like," he said again in a kind and hopeful voice. He felt the desperate urge to apologize profusely, but he knew it wouldn't do any good.
"It's not like that!" she shouted, rounding on him. "My home is...I can't get there from here! I don't know how...I don't belong here!"
"What are you speaking of?" he asked in confusion.
"Are you daft?!" Dominique blurted, and she only then wondered if he would get the expression at all. "You've had the nerve to comment on the way I talk and my clothing, but you can't piece together those things and my questions to figure out just what I'm worried about!"
Ignotus' brow pulled together, and when he seemed to connect the dots, he gave Dominique a look of pure surprise. "That is not possible," he stuttered, shaking his head for good measure.
Dominique shouted, "I am from the year 2022!"
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