Chapter 5 : To Kill For Power
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Cadmus had to pull a sobbing Ignotus off of their eldest brother's corpse. Ignotus remained on his knees as Cadmus and Antioch's friends busied themselves around the small bedroom. Together the men lifted the body of Antioch Peverell and removed it from the house. The crowd inside the village of Hertfordshire split like the sea as they watched the men carry the body down the wooden steps and place it delicately on a cart attached to a horse. When the body was placed, Cadmus entered the house once more and knelt by his brother's side.
He placed a firm hand on the man's back and said in a low voice. "Ignotus, we must be strong. For Mother and Tyrion."
Ignotus listened to his brother's instructions. He knew they were sincere and true. Cadmus was always the understanding one. The older Peverell brothers still believed Ignotus to be a man who had only recently come of age and left the years of boyhood, and therefore, Cadmus had been understanding and lenient with him. Antioch had always been the opposite; Antioch had tested his youngest brother, dared him to be a man before he had to be, and had demanded perseverance and strength from Ignotus at all times. Cadmus, a man not much older than Ignotus, remembered the transition from a boy to a man and gave his brother the leeway he had always wished to receive from their brother and father before their father's time came.
Ignotus closed his eyes and tried to breathe deeply. His brother's voice was in his ears once more. "Come. We must place Antioch's wand and sword by his side."
Ignotus watched Cadmus go to a table in the corner where Antioch's sword and holster were lying, as if waiting to be strapped about their eldest brother's waist one more time. Cadmus withdrew the sword that had been forged by their father. Ignotus rose from his spot and sauntered over to Anitoch's bedside where he began to look for the Elder Wand. He knew his brother had kept his wand by his bedside or under his pillow, so he checked in those two locations. No wizard slept without their wand or sword close at hand.
When Ignotus could not find his brother's newest wand, he turned to Cadmus with a sense of fear.
"Brother," Ignotus began in a quiet voice, worried the others outside Antioch's home would overhear, "Antioch's wand. The new one. It is not here."
"What...?" whispered Cadmus. "You sure? You searched everywhere?"
"Well, not everywhere!" grunted Ignotus with a reprimanding tone. Of course he hadn't searched everywhere. "But I have searched his bedside, his pillow, within his sheets, under the mattress. It is nowhere to be found."
Cadmus said nothing. His face moved from his brother's gaze to stare at the floor where he entered deep thought. Ignotus watched his face for any trace of Cadmus’ thoughts, trying to understand what was running through his head.
"You do not think it was...stolen, do you?" inquired Ignotus.
"I do not know..." muttered Cadmus. He then stood up straighter, trying to hold off any more troubling thoughts. There were other matters to deal with for the time being. "But let us not worry about that wand just yet. Find his old one, and we shall place that one beside his body. That may be the best thing to do to begin with. If people see, they may question why he has a different wand."
Ignotus agreed with his brother on that matter. Witches and wizards rarely had an excuse to obtain a new wand when theirs worked perfectly fine, unless the other one had broken. People would surely see such a different wand and find it peculiar, wonder when and why Antioch had gotten a new wand. Especially one that was so finely made, so smooth and elaborate in its crafting when others were so lumpy and plain.
He found his brother's old wand set aside in one of his drawers, and he left the house to set it on the cart with Antioch's body. Clumsily and shaking, Ignotus grasped his brother's cold hands. He tried not to jump at the icy cold touch, and he placed the wand atop Anitoch's chest, folding the cold hands over the wooden hilt of the wand. With everyone still watching and a somber quiet taking hold of Hertfordshire, Ignotus set Antioch's maids to work by cleaning up the bloodied mess.
Ignotus turned to Edmund, waiting patiently beside the cart with his head bowed. He whispered to him so none of the townspeople could hear. "You will come with us back to Godric's Hollow. My brother and I have questions for you."
Edmund nodded and remained silent. The townspeople bowed their heads and stepped aside, muttering words of blessing and condolences. Without another word, Ignotus followed in Cadmus' footsteps and mounted his horse. Edmund took charge of the horse attached to the cart, and they began the caravan back to Godric's Hollow. It seemed slow and eerie even though the sun was beating down on their backs. Ignotus kept his head down, hiding his face from his brother's gaze so he wouldn't see him cry. He watched his tears drip onto his navy cape and watched it sink into the fabric. When his cheeks were dripping, he swiped his wind-burnt skin dry.
A sudden silence fell over Godric's Hollow as they entered. The wheels of other wooden carts stopped turning. Children stopped their playing in the streets, recognizing a death procession, and with the two living Peverell brothers in the lead, they immediately knew who lay in the back of the wooden cart. With the new silence, people exited their homes or peered out of their windows to see what had gone amiss. Ignotus was aware of everyone's eyes on his brother's body, and he held his head high and tried not to tremble with his cries.
Then Ignotus began to dread the return home. How would their mother react? Would she scream? Ignotus felt his demeanor slowly beginning to break. He was never good at hiding his emotions. Like he always could, Cadmus sensed his little brother's fear and turned to face him. He said just loud enough for him to hear. "Be strong, brother."
Ignotus drew in a deep breath and gave a firm nod.
They came upon Cadmus' home, and once the sound of the horse's hoofs vanished, the door to the home opened, and uneasily Eirene stepped out from the home's depths. Her eyes went to her two sons, tears in them, her questions daring to leave her lips, and then her eyes darted to the cart attached to Edmund's horse. That was when she clutched her chest and needn't ask anymore. She knew her eldest son was dead.
Eirene stumbled out of the home, past her sons, and to the cart where she could look at her grown son. Cadmus and Ignotus quickly dismounted and ran to their mother's side. She held her chest as if she couldn't breathe, and tears were steadily running down her cheeks. She was choking over her words as she lost her balance, and her sons each grabbed an arm to steady her.
"No," moaned Eriene. "Oh, Antioch! No!"
"Shh, Mother," Ignotus choked out, and he pulled his mother away from Cadmus and into his arms. He pulled her head into the crook of his neck and patted her head. She willingly sank into his embrace and clenched the broach holding his cloak together. The sound of thundering footsteps made Ignotus look up from his mother, and he saw Dominique and Tyrion standing in the doorway.
"Uncle!" Tyrion shouted painfully and tried to run, but Dominique reached down and took the boy into her arms, holding him there.
Ignotus watched his only living brother suck in a deep breath of courage and approach Tyrion to tell the boy that Uncle Antioch had died. Cadmus knelt in front of his son, and Dominique turned him into the arms of his father. Then, still holding his sobbing mother, Ignotus looked back to the new woman standing in the doorway of his brother's home, and with one tear in her eye, she faded into the home to leave the Peverell family to their mourning.
Harry Potter apprehensively bit the nail of his thumb as he paced about his office. Hours had gone by and he had yet to hear from his niece. After what he had seen in her flat, the combination of her absence and the blood on the floor sent an uneasy feeling throughout Harry's body. He was stiff, and yet trembling with worry. He had sent Ron off in his place for the mission, and instead Harry had chosen to stay behind in hopes that Dominique would show up somewhere at some point. If worse came to worse, he would order a search party.
Unfortunately though, Harry's by-laws stated he couldn't send out a search party for anyone unless they had been missing for over forty-eight hours. That would be his last resort, though. He was still hoping that Dominique would turn up somewhere. Despite his desperate wish, there was a gut-wrenching feeling inside him that screamed to him that wouldn't be the case. Too many things went against the hopes of Dominique returning unharmed and of her own free will. The blood on the floor had been a sure sign that she was hurt. Her unpacked suitcase and broken glass all over the floor with lights still ablaze in her flat could show many things; that there had been a forced entry or that she was taken. Not to mention Harry's cloak was long gone, and that didn't help with anything.
Harry began to question if Dominique had left or if she had been taken. Had she accidentally hurt herself, left to find help, and something went astray along the way?
These were the questions that plagued him as he couldn't do anything but pace about his office and wait for the forty-eight hours to pass. Worst of all, he had yet to tell Bill and Fleur. He didn't want to worry them until absolutely necessary, and Harry liked to believe that he had the situation under control. But did he? He was frantic about the disappearance over his niece. He worried for her safety, and unless something seriously terrible had happened to her, she had jeopardized her entire career this morning and Harry couldn't simply let it slide because she was his niece. She would have to earn her spot back. Analyzing his thoughts, he came to the conclusion that no, he was far from controlled.
He had notified Ginny of their missing family member, and he had asked her to remain at Dominique's flat in case she showed up. Gladly she had done so while Harry now waited in his office until he figured out his next move.
He had already modified their mission as needed, seeing as the cloak wouldn’t be turning up in time for the mission. Harry didn’t mind this, though. The modification was easy enough, and the resurfacing of his cloak was the least of his priorities. The cloak could remain missing for all he cared. All he wanted was the safe return of his neice.
"Jocosa," Ignotus grunted over the crackling fire. He was slouched in his favorite chair in the living room of his home, his hand hanging limp over the edge of his chair. He waved his empty goblet around lethargically. "More ale."
He heard her quiet reply from somewhere in the room, and he held out his cup, awaiting the moment when it would be full again and the warm liquid would burn his throat and ease his troubles. When it was so full he felt the red liquid splash against his hand, he gave her a nod of thanks and took a deep gulp.
The air inside of Ignotus' home was hot and thick. The closed windows, as they should be when in mourning, prevented the pleasant summer air from drifting inside, and the fire Ignotus could not tear his eyes from only made it less than pleasant. He muttered to his friend sitting across from him again. "You have to remember more than that, Edmund."
"I have told you all I know, my Lord," said Edmund in a distressed voice. He leaned forward in his chair, his elbows braced on his knees, his hands gripping his goblet that was still full of ale.
"You have to know more!" Ignotus groaned, his voice rising with intensity. "My brother was murdered, and I want to know who killed him!"
"I know nothing for sure," whispered Edmund. He remained calm while Ignotus grew impatient and demanding, but his friend was never like that. He knew it was just how Ignotus was dealing with the loss, as well as the effects of the ale. "There are only small things that stand out."
"Like what? I must know everything," demanded Ignotus.
"When was the last you spoke to Antioch before he died? And the last you entered Hertfordshire?" asked Edmund, and while Ignotus did not know where this was leading, he answered.
"I spoke to Antioch perhaps four days ago. Hertfordshire? Before today, I had not entered for a week at the very least."
"Then you did not hear of what happened at the pub?"
"No. What happened?" asked Ignotus, suddenly curious and feeling as if his conversation with Edmund was finally going somewhere.
It had taken a good while to calm Eirene and Tyrion down, and after they had done so, they had placed Antioch's body in the ground beside their father. Ignotus had said his parting goodbyes to his family for the day and returned home with Dominique and Edmund. Since he had returned home, he had been ringing Edmund dry of everything he knew that could answer the questions Ignotus had about Antioch's murder.
"Well, Antioch came in to the pub three days ago walking taller than he normally did. He began boasting about what a powerful wizard he was, and he picked a fight with that man he had always quarreled with as a boy. Gannon? The beast of a man who always had Antioch on his knees until he yielded in a sword fight? They taunted one another and threw a few blows; it was nothing out of the ordinary for Gannon or Antioch. They were always the troublemakers down at the pub. The blows turned into jinxes and stunning spells, and Antioch continued to brag about this new power. None of us interfered; duels between Gannon and Antioch were common. Neither of them ever meant any true harm. Until Anitoch struck Gannon dead."
Ignotus listened carefully. He had long ago torn his eyes from the fire and stared into Edmund's. He was disappointed in his brother for picking yet another fight, but it had always been in Antioch's nature. Antioch had a thirst for power like none of the men had ever seen. It was also not the first time Antioch had killed a man, and therefore, the story did not seem all that extraordinary or peculiar other than the small things Ignotus picked up from Edmund's story that related to the Antioch's gift from Death. The brothers had sworn to never speak of their encounter with Death or their gifts, but it was clear that Antioch had given away the fact that he had possessed something out of the ordinary and extremely powerful. This slightly infuriated Ignotus, but as he was mourning his brother, he found he could not hold his anger for long.
"And what of it? Gannon would not be the first man Antioch has killed," inquired Ignotus with a roll of the shoulders.
"Yes, you are quite right. Though you were not there to witness it, Ignotus. Antioch did possess this new power. Somehow. He was stronger, he was mightier, he was...unbeatable. All the men in the pub, including myself I will admit, were mesmerized by his power."
"Are you saying my brother was murdered because a few men were jealous of his power?!" stammered Ignotus. The thought enraged him. How foolish and immature of those men!
"Perhaps," Edmund rolled his shoulders.
"The fools!" Ignotus raged. He jumped from his chair, his ale spilling all over the floor. Jocosa quickly scurried over to scrub the liquid from the stone floor, and she refilled her master's glass as she knew she would be demanded. "The damned idiots! Lords have power, Dukes have power! Kings have power! And yet you do not see them being struck down in their sleep like helpless children! You mean to tell me that my brother, only a noble Lord of the House of Peverell, had his throat cut because he had more power than a few commoners?!"
"I do not know, Ignotus. It is only a hunch," answered Edmund humbly, shaking his head and remaining calm as Ignotus fumed before him.
Then suddenly everything made sense to Ignotus. The Elder Wand hadn't been hidden by Antioch before his untimely death; the Elder Wand had been stolen from him. He had been murdered so that his killer could possess the wand and its power. Antioch had given himself away that his wand had more power than anything, and it had cost him his life. Ignotus went still as he realized this, and he fell back into his chair. Quickly he chugged his ale and stared blankly ahead.
"The bastard..." he cursed. He sat still and then breathed in an icy cool voice. "Antioch's killer should know better than to remain in Hertfordshire."
"Why do you say this?" Edmund inquired. "He was struck in the middle of the night. We cannot know who killed him."
"I know now that Antioch was murdered for the sole purpose of stealing his wand from him. To gain pure power."
"The wand does not always dictate the power of a witch or wizard. Besides, I saw Antioch buried with his wand. You cannot know this."
"But I do," hissed Ignotus. "You saw my brother buried with his first wand. Not his second, Edmund."
"My Lord?" Edmund questioned with raised eyebrows.
"Antioch obtained a new wand perhaps only a fortnight ago, and when we arrived in Hertfordshire today, that wand was nowhere to be found. His new wand...It has a power like never before."
"If you are correct, then Antioch's killer should be walking around with this new wand?"
"Exactly," said Ignotus sternly. It was a possibility that the killer could sit around Hertfordshire for some time, walking around with Antioch's wand, for no one would notice a wand that had only belonged to its first owner for a mere two weeks. However, Ignotus hoped the killer feared him and his brother and knew they could come after him. "And when I see him, he shall meet the same fate as my brother."
"You are drunk. You were never one for revenge, my friend," said Edmund uneasily. He eyed Ignotus for a hint to see if it was just the ale talking or this new side to Ignotus he had never seen before.
Ignotus ignored his friend's comment and kept his mind set on revenge. He knew he wasn’t drunk. "When it comes to my family, I will always avenge."
"And I do not see you chasing after the man who killed your father," muttered Edmund.
Ignotus grew still, and he shut his eyes to the sudden vision of his father with an arrow straight through his heart. He felt his skin grow cold and rigid as it rose with goosebumps. He could still picture his father's dead body clear as day, as if it had only just happened, not ten years ago. If his father had died in front of him, he would have remembered the face of his killer and waited until he reached manhood to avenge him, but he hadn't. His father had died on the battlefield, a noble death, and he had not seen the face of his father's killer. No one had. It would be impossible to avenge, but Yrian Peverell’s death was a noble one and therefore didn’t need avenging, and Ignotus knew this. He didn’t need to prove that fact to Edmund. Not now.
He shook his head, and when he opened his eyes, a demand left his lips. "Go home, Edmund."
Edmund pursed his lips and watched his still friend for a few moments before he finally rose, obeying. He gave a quick and small bow before turning to leave. "My Lord," he answered curtly.
When the closing of the door signaled his leave, Ignotus uneasily rose to his feet. His breath was heavy; everything felt heavy. He left the room leaning against everything that came across his path, and when he turned into the hallway to head for the stairs, he was startled by what he saw.
He had forgotten about the woman he had taken in. He had thought her long ago to disappear to the guest chamber and be asleep, but that didn't appear to be the case. She was sitting on the floor, attempting to scramble to her feet. It was evident that she had tried to rise and flee upstairs before Ignotus could know of her presence, but she hadn't been quick enough. Her eyes were wide, and he could tell she was trying to figure out if she should apologize.
"Have you been listening the whole time?" asked Ignotus.
"I-I'm sorry," she stuttered, curling into a ball against the wall. "I just..."
"That conversation was to be private," he said in a stern voice.
"I'm so sorry. I knew you were looking for answers, and I thought maybe I could help. But then you seemed to figure it all out pretty well yourself," answered Dominique in a quiet and humble voice. It was too delicate and weak for Ignotus to continue with his raised voice. She had earned his forgiveness simply with her frightened demeanor.
To coax her, he slid down the wall and sat beside her. Then he listened to her words more closely. "What do you mean you thought you could help? Do you know...You know why my brother was killed?"
"Yes," answered Dominique, her face between her legs.
"How could you possibly..." began Ignotus, only to falter and let his voice trail off.
"You know that people in my time are aware of your encounter with Death, but I didn't tell you everything. There's more to the story," whispered Dominique.
"You must tell me," demanded Ignotus.
"I don't think I should," she answered, contemplating what to do. People always said to never mess around with time travel. She may have already changed the future by coming. She could have changed it by just meeting Ignotus. Would it change the future if he knew the story of the Peverell brothers and the cheating of Death before it happened? Would her uncle still be alive if things did change? What would happen to her world?
"My brother died today, and you give me a bad feeling. If this threatens the safety of my family, you must tell me," Ignotus whispered.
"Another time. After I think. I understand you've lost your brother today, and I'm terribly sorry. I just...I just have to figure things out," answered Dominique.
"You are right. You are 800 years from your time. I apologize for reprimanding you and neglecting you this evening."
"Don't worry about it," answered Dominique with a roll of the shoulder. She didn't mind. Of course she understood; Ignotus had lost someone dear today, but at Ignotus' next expression, she realized she probably should have phrased her words differently.
Ignotus looked troubled. He shook his head. "I am not worried, my lady."
Dominique actually laughed. "No, no. It's an expression. It basically means, I accept your apology."
"Oh," said Ignotus. They entered silence, and Ignotus was the one to break it after a few minutes. "Have you ever lost a loved one?"
"No," she whispered, and she wished she had something to say other than that. She had been fortunate enough to not have lost a family member during her time of living.
Ignotus went on immediately. He let his head fall back against the wall, and he entered his deep thoughts. "It is terrible. You do not know how much you love someone until they are gone. Antioch...He was always demanding the best from me. He was like a second father to me; he pushed me to become the man I am today. There were some days when all I wanted to do was hit him over the head with the hilt of the sword he had forged for me in my days of training. He called me a fool almost daily; he always had a lesson for me. Sometimes I hated him for it, but now...What I would not give to have him call me a fool just one more time..."
"I'm so sorry, Ignotus," she whispered, and she debated if she should physically comfort him or not. Did she place her hand on his back? Did she hold his hand or pat his knee? What was she to do? Would he be offended if she did or would he consider it inappropriate? Her difficulty with keeping up the correct actions at all times was overwhelming her, so she did nothing.
After a moment of reflecting on his words, Ignotus finally cleared his throat and rose from the ground. "I apologize. My troubles should not be your burden."
Dominique clambered to her feet, wiping her hands on the skirt of her dress. "It's not a burden. You're going through a difficult time. People can't keep everything to themselves. We need someone to turn to."
Ignotus smiled at that and diverted their conversation from something so dreary. "How different your time must be. I bid you goodnight, Lady Dominique."
Cadmus Peverell turned to leave his son for the night after tucking him into bed, but the boy’s small voice made him turn around once more. “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Cadmus gently inquired, pausing in the doorway. He looked to Tyrion, tucked in his bed and holding the covers up to his chin.
“Do you miss Mother?” Tyrion innocently asked.
Cadmus tried not to make a gasp of surprise. He knew Tyrion had struggled after his mother’s death, but as a fair amount of time had passed since that day, Cadmus had thought the boy had moved on, that he was looking more positively on things now. He wondered how often Tyrion thought back on the death of his mother.
“Of course I miss her, son,” he said gently, trying to not let his emotions get the best of him.
“Is Uncle with her now?” Tyrion inquired.
At that Cadmus actually smiled. He nodded to his son. “Yes, my boy,” he answered. “Uncle Antioch is with Mother now, and they will watch over you.”
Tyrion managed a smile at those words of reassurance. Seeing that his son was done speaking for the night, Cadmus turned to leave once again. “Get some sleep, my son.”
With that Cadmus slipped from his son’s bedroom and shut the door. He entered his chambers and dropped down into his favorite chair nearest the hearth where a weak fire was burning. He gazed into it for many moments before turning to the table by his chair. A small gold box sat on the table, and after minutes of working up to it, he finally lifted the lid of the gold box to stare at the dark stone sitting inside of it.
He inspected its smooth surface, its sharp edges, and its dark black color.
He had asked for something to reawaken the dead, and what had he been given? A mere pretty rock? What had Death been playing at? How was a stone supposed to reawaken the dead? He uneasily reached for the stone and turned it over in his hands as he had so often done of the last fortnight. He had sat in the very chair he now sat in, turning the stone over in his hands until the early hours of morning, just waiting for Seraphine to enter the room once again.
Now he had someone else he wished to recall from the grave. His brother Antioch.
He knew he had appeared strong that day when he had coaxed Ignotus out of Antioch’s home. He knew he had pumped the courage he had needed into his brother, but what had he saved for himself? Here alone in his chambers, he had nothing but his sorrowful and mournful thoughts. He wanted nothing more than to have Antioch and Seraphine back in his life.
Why wasn’t this stone fulfilling that request? How was he supposed to utilize a damn rock?
In frustration he placed the stone back in the gold box, and in one swift movement, he rose from his chair and hurtled the box across the room. It shattered a mirror on the opposite wall and fell to the ground, unbroken and useless.
Cadmus sank to his knees, buried his face into his hands, and cried.
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