Chapter 1 : Herpeton
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In this, I’ve chosen to write the parts in Five different POVs. Each part lapses in time from the previous part, so the story can be read both as single units as well as a series of tiny little stories.
WARNING: This story is extremely violent.
Walking down the stairs has never been harder. My throat constricts in an agonizing grip, as if death himself is sending me his best wishes for my passing. My feet are jell-o beneath my torso and my head is spinning in gravitational orbits. I’m dreading what’s in store for me down there. I want to be dead…
But I already am.
“Herpo’s Dive is the Ministry of the Dead.”
I look at him with mild amusement.
“Sounds like a Muggle disease, if you ask me”
His head whips in my direction so fast that the hording wind of the angry ocean whimpers in objection to the sudden change of its direction.
“Herpo was the first ever Wizard to create a Basilisk and a Hocrux, Fred. Voldemort is cute next to Herpo”
I gulp noisily, my eyes wide and fixed on his.
“Where was it that you found me when I… When I got here? Those stairs… Where was that?”
The cave is dense with the salt, the only reminder of the nearby ocean. The wind stands still, not daring to puff a breath. Cedric looks at me with concern before turning towards the hollow blackness.
“Verum nos humiles servi”
Without any warning, a soft blue bubble of light appears mid-air, not a single strand of light escaping the boundaries of the bubble to shed brightness into the blackness of the cave. A soft, deep voice reverberates from it, echoing off the stone walls.
Stand, you do, where he once stood
Aesalon the Great, to unveil the truth
Cedric steps into Herpeton for the second time. He isn’t happy that his exile of one and a half years from the country was interrupted twice in such quick succession.
It is unlikely that Fred would run into the country instead of running along the coast or fading into the forest. He took off in fear of what he heard, in fear of what resides inside Herpeton, making it illogical for him to run right into their waiting arms.
But Cedric knows Fred. He knows where to find him.
I’m standing on the stairs where he found me. I try to push the obvious questions to the back of my mind, but they keep resurfacing. How did he find me? Why did he find me? Is it really him? Or is this Herpo’s idea of sport?
I hear voices descending down the stairway, complimenting the footsteps treading towards me from down below. Trapped and terrified, I climb over the railing, sliding down the side of the staircase-
- and through the marble floor.
I am groping all over the floor trying to find purchase of solidity to escape this vacuum of blackness when he pulls me out.
“They know we’re here”
I’m beginning to suspect that this is where he lives, in Aesalon’s Hide.
“Is that bad?” I’m staring intensely at the prawn I’m holding on a stick, ignoring his scorching glare from across the cave.
“Do you not remember what you heard?” His voice is quiet, radiating venom and accusation right into my being.
“Yes, I do” I don’t understand why I let him boss me around. I don’t understand why Fred Weasley is letting Cedric Diggory treat him like a child.
“Recite it. Every single word”
I don’t understand why I like it.
I stumble through the furnace in an attempt to sneak up on them. It had to be me. No one else would have been able to get through all the wards protecting this place. It had to be someone with powerful dueling abilities. It had to someone with a quick brain and witty tongue. It had to be someone who can talk himself out if he is caught.
It had to be me, and here I am.
On Mopsus Corpse.
Stand, you do, where he once stood
Aesalon the Great, to unveil the truth
Truth shall ye hear, damned shall ye be
Conquer thy mind lest they should see
Plain be living yet magic did we
Land of Unknown, what cannot we be?
Forsake ye not, did Troy not fall?
Beseech I thee, or damned shall be all
Mopsus, Mopsus, deceived ye shall be
Consumed! Rotten! Worlds may ye see
Down below the Veil they left
Malicious and Foul, souls they kept
Blend the Universe it is not fixed
Glimpse is all, the walls to twixt
Give ye mind, end shall be
Give ye mind, hell ye be
I’m standing on the edge of Merwyn’s Veil, looking down on Mopsus Corpse, and I understand the Truth.
“Why is no one stopping us? Why have I not seen anyone else besides you? More importantly, why are you not in Mopsus Corpse?” There is no fire in the cave tonight.
“Unbreakable Vow between Mopsus and Herpo”
He is sitting on the other side of this tiny space we use for our conclaves. I cannot see him, but I can sense his perfect posture leaning against the wall, his back straight and his head arched as opposed to my hunched, relaxed posture. He continues talking as if oblivious of my attention.
“They vowed that only the damned will be cast into Mopsus Corpse”
Aesalon watches the red-headed boy from the depths of Mopsus Corpse. The voices in around him increase in volume and intensity as they all see him. They are not beseeching the boy to save them. They’re chanting to Herpo to bring the boy in.
A Weasley! A Weasley! Let the blood traitor burn!
Not here. Not with us. I don’t want his blood anywhere near me.
His mother put me here! Bring him down! BRING HIM DOWN!
“Quiet!” Herpo’s voice bellows, cutting the chanting off. “I suggest you preserve your energy for when he falls”
I am awoken by the sound of vicious passion and I recognize the voices. I run deep into the cave and stop abruptly at a fountain. Across the water is a circular meadow. I double up as the brightness of the meadow blinds me, but force myself to straighten up, to see it for myself.
Half hidden in the flower beds of the meadow, the two figures are passionately entwined. Blood red hair cascades down her torso as she saddles him. His bronze hair appears through the gaps in the flowers and grass as his hands wander up along her body.
Cedric is pulled out of the water, thrashing and gasping for breath. No sooner than his head broke the surface, he starts screaming.
“No! Fred STOP! LISTEN TO ME!”
Fred runs his hands over his body, not touching him. Cedric’s body dries up instantly.
“I’m not going to kill you. I had to snap you out of the Imperius”
Cedric’s heart stops for the briefest moment before relief floods down his veins. “You knew?” He asks, propping up on his elbows.
“You weren’t yourself”
“How did you know?” Cedric asks softly, not daring to breathe.
“I just did”
Even in my subconscious mind, I’m alert. My mind hasn’t stopped reciting the story over and over again just as Cedric said it.
They vowed that only the damned will be cast into Mopsus Corpse. In the beginning, there was no proper afterlife. The dead were scattered into the vacuum, alone and rotting until their bodies gave in to starvation or thirst. Herpo is one of the most powerful wizards to have ever lived. Not similar to the kind in Wizarding Britain. We have always had rules governing us. But the free-thinkers of Greece are an entirely different story.
Cedric walked out of their Safe Haven and stood at its entrance, gazing out into the infinite ocean. This is simply one of many places he stumbled upon in his three-year existence in Herpeton, moving from cave to cave and shack to shack, never staying put. He knew that the probability of them knowing where they are is high, but he didn’t want to wake Fred up. Despite what he claims, Cedric knows that the boy is shaken and is only playing tough because that’s just who he is.
And they’ve used Cedric to try and throw him into eternal damnation.
It’s my turn to hunt. I’m crouching low behind a wild bush but I can’t keep my mind steady enough to remain noiseless. Each time a bird springs into the air or a rabbit hops into a hole, Cedric’s voice reverberates in my head.
Herpo didn’t just stay put when he got here. He realized that this place only lacks substance, not completely devoid of it. He had no wand so he tried pushing his mind beyond limits of enlightenment until he could control the environment around him. Then we went in search of others and found Merwyn.
Seven pieces of Voldemort arrived in Mopsus Corpse, one by one.
Aesalon quietly turned his head from his upside-down position midair, the shackles cutting deeper into his ankles. The seven pieces were scattered across seven different dimensions; burning, decapitating, boiling, flaying, labour, insanity and cruciatus. Each of the pieces looked at each other, confused.
There should be eight.
“Where is the Eighth?” All seven of them echoe at once, their voices a mere rasp of breath.
“Lord Voldemort, the Extraordinary” the walls reverberated with the force and venom of Herpo’s voice. “I’m assured that you will figure this out yourself”
Cedric is fishing, having sent Fred back to the Shack after finding him shivering from head to toes behind a bush. He is standing at the edge of a high rock on the side of a cliff, his hands stretched out as if he is gripping a large invisible globe. A large bubble of water breaks the surface, moving against gravity and rising higher and higher into Cedric’s arms. The bubble mimics the movement of his arms and drops into the bucket at his feet.
As he prepares to leave, a figure appears at the gap in the forest behind him.
Cedric doesn’t know Harry like I do. He doesn’t see anything unsettling in this figure that is pretending to be Harry, as they chat enthusiastically by the fire. Standing at the door gazing into the ocean, I go over Cedric’s story seeing if any portion of it can explain what’s happening.
Merwyn the Malicious created a lot of curses and jinxes in his day, none of it good. He’s responsible for the 533 Unforgivables. Only three of them are known to Wizarding Britain. Together Herpo and Merwyn built this place. But it wasn’t enough.
Cedric looks over at Fred’s silhouette and itches to go over and talk to him, but is interrupted by Harry.
“So then what?”
Cedric takes care to not show exasperation at his inquisitiveness. He’s never known Harry to be this persistence, but then again the boy did just win the war, as he said, even though it claimed his life.
“Merwyn was prepared for death in a different way than Herpo the Foul. Herpo made a horcrux to keep him alive but Merwyn was much much smarter. He created the Veil, to be able to simply walk back to Earth”
Merwyn the Malicious was angry.
His attempts have never before been unsuccessful. Turning into Ginny was supposed to work. Fred Weasley isn’t that insightful or intelligent. How did he figure it out?
The Weasley boy reminded him of Mopsus. Neither Herpo nor Merlin was able to manipulate him despite the deceptive visions Merwyn showed him of “What it would be like.” But Aesalon got to him first.
Still, Mopsus’s daughter was Herpo’s apprentice, and was as bad as he. Twelve years later she showed up, and Mopsus had no choice but to give in, to save his daughter from Herpo.
I’m walking on the coastline when I see it. A blinding light in the sky, spreading in the shape of an arc in the span of mere seconds before millions of colourful lights erupt behind the clouds. They’re faint, but visible nonetheless, and I begin to hope excitedly.
Mopsus wasn’t an ordinary seer. He was the best in all of Greece, way better than those in Britain. He predicted the fall of Troy to the last minute, defeating the predictions of the Great Seer Calchas. His mind had the ability to see beyond the laws of time and dimensions…
“There are a lot of people down Mopsus Corpse who are eagerly waiting for you”
Merwyn corners Fred as he stands at the ocean, staring at the sky. He doesn’t turn around at Merwyn’s voice which enrages him. No one turns their back on Merwyn. No one ignores Merwyn.
“You couldn’t finish your work on the Veil before Aesalon killed you. But when you got here you found Mopsus, whose minds could reach across the universe which your Veil could not. So you wanted to amplify Mopsus’s Seer senses to reach across the dimensions”
Fred turned around “You failed”
Cedric’s unease begins to grow. Harry is become alien as the minute went by, laughing too loud at jokes and showing too much interest in everything. Harry is an inquisitive boy, but he was just that, curious. This boy has a burning for knowledge, his eyes shining each time Cedric imparts information.
And he was polite. Harry Potter is sarcastic.
“I think I should check on Weasley”
Cedric sees the fleeting red glint that burns in the depth of this stranger’s eyes, and thinks its Merwyn.
“Merwyn” Cedric mutters, jumping to his feet, the boy following suit.
“No” Comes a voice from the doorway. They both turn in time to see Fred dragging a body behind him. “It’s Voldemort”
Cedric walks alongside Fred, his eyes shifting towards him every now and again in admiration. He wants to ask Fred how he did what he did and what’s going to happen next, but doesn’t want to make a sound lest the walls of Herpo Dive come crashing down on them, or Herpo himself drag them down to Mopsus Corpse.
As soon as they reach their cave (Fred prefers the cave over the shack), Cedric bombards him with questions.
“Tell me. Tell me how you did it. How did you incapacitate Merwyn? How did you know it was Voldemort?”
“Do you see it?” I ask Cedric, pointing at the sky near the ocean.
Cedric’s face transforms from a frown to a smile, his eyes lighting at the revelation. He begins to bounce up and down on his heels in excitement.
“A golden arc! It’s the-
“Afterlife. Yes” I finished calmly.
Cedric’s face clouds with dread “Does that mean we’re damned?”
“No. I’ve heard that Hell is defined as utter loneliness, where you’re left without God or Light or anything else. People are driven insane with desperation that no one ever lives to see the possibilities of the lawless world”
Cedric's dreams keeps morphing into Fred's voice
I was beginning to suspect when I didn’t see anyone else here. There are plenty of good people who would have flocked together to live in harmony. But there was only you. You are a good person. Despite the power Herpo and Merwyn had, even they get bored sometimes. They let you mingle so that they can use you when someone hated at the Corpse comes along. I’m a Weasley. Loads down there want to tear me apart.
Then I saw the fireworks and knew that the afterlife was celebrating Voldemort’s defeat. This isn’t the only place.
I remember how George, Jordon and I were on the run on and off when we started Potterwatch. I remember how terrified we were when we realized that Stan Shunpike who was invited to the show was Imperiused and how we fought off Dolohov when he was Polyjuiced to be Mr. Lovegood. I remember how Professor Lupin taught the three of us Occlumency and I wish I could have returned the favour somehow.
Today is the day I pay back everyone for anything I’ve missed doing. Today is the way Cedric and I redeem Mopsus.
I’m sitting in Aesalon’s Hide when Cedric sits down on the other side of the cave. I can feel that he wants me to answer his questions, but also that he wished they seen’t at the edge of infinite destruction.
But beneath all of that, I can feel resentment radiating off of Cedric for keeping him in the dark.
“It’s for your own good, Ced. Just to be safe”
“I suggest you stop treating me like a child”
I don’t want to lose my temper tonight. I spring to my feet, trying to push past him but he grabs hold of me and pushes me onto the stone wall, the sound of the collision echoing. Without warning, Cedric brings his lips crashing down on mine, and Mopsus is forgotten.
We are ready to leave, but Cedric wants to know more.
“Fine” I say in resignation. “You told me how powerful this world is, how the laws are so thin that we only need will to make things happen, as magic is in our blood. Then I saw the fireworks just as Merwyn showed up. I blabbed on, distracting him so I’ll have time to see inside his mind, and I was right”
“Right about what?” He asks, exasperated.
I can’t help but smirk “You’ll see”
Cedric doesn’t understand why they stop at Merwyn’s Veil, a circular room beyond the stairs and why no one comes to get them.
“This is exactly where the overlapping of worlds allows Mopsus’s mind to connect to the Veil”
Cedric looks at the empty room, confused.
“Why isn’t it here?”
“They wanted to pour Mopsus’s mind into the canvas of this world, so that the magic would be amplified and he would be able to see the pathway to the Veil. But they didn’t want him to have so much power, so they poured both him and Herpo into the canvas”
Aesalon feels redemption in his bones the moment the walls start to vibrate. Herpo is shaking with rage and fear.
It’s all about the flaw in the plan, isn’t it old man? You saw the possibilities of travelling to the different afterlives, parallel universes andf travelling in time with Mopsus’s mind as the machine. You spent centuries studying them, because you couldn’t resist. During that time, Mopsus shut down all of the pathways back to the Veil and the afterlives before he shut his mind down. You burst inwards in your own fury and rage resulting in a burning furnace on top of Mopsus’s corpse.
Cedric is staring into a large pit, right underneath Mopsus’s Corpse. The light blue hue of this is similar to the bubble in the cave, its movement familiar. Cedric realizes that Aesalon has meant for him to find the cave, and in turn has wanted him to find Fred. He looks at Fred and realizes that he already knows this. He asks him how he knows.
“The first time I came here, Aesalon stored something in my head. That’s how I knew what my occlumency can do. I crippled both Merwyn and Voldemort by cutting off all signals to their brains, just like Aesalon showed me”
The pit Aesalon Is burning in today drops through the ground and to the blackness beneath. He stands up with such grace for one who's been burning in a furnace for all eternity, the glint in his eyes addressing Fred.
“I’d like it back” He tells Fred, smiling.
“Like what back?” Cedric asks, perplexed.
Fred obediently bends his head low and Aesalon places both his hands on the sides of his temples. A blueish substance emits from Fred’s head, pouring into the skin of Aesalon.
The hue dims around Fred and he stands straight, grinning from ear-to-ear.
Mopsus feels as if he’s been pulled out of the ocean after centuries. His entire body hurts, cramped and benumbed. His eyes hurt even when closed, but he opens them, expecting to see Herpo with his daughter.
His eyes glint in the light as he sees Aesalon.
“You did it” He beams at the two boys.
“We all did” Aesalon looks serene.
Mopsus climbs out of the hole in the ground, dragging out dirt with him. He sees the boys look past him into the hole and see a glimpse of hell for the first time.
“The process is gradual”
Cedric understand it all now.
Mopsus is a part of this world, and as long as the world persists, so would he and Herpo.
When Fred saw Aesalon for the first time in the Corpse, Aesalon passed on a portion of himself using Merwyn’s signature trick. It took him some time to take root in Fred’s mind but when he does, his power amplifies Fred’s skills.
One question is still unanswered.
“Were we the only ones who aren’t damned to have come here?”
“No” Aesalon replied, walking out of Herpeton with the boys. “I drew the power from my connection to Herpo through Corpse to bring some people here over the centuries. They’re all down the pit now”
Mopsus looks down at his pit at all the damned. The ones above are very much mild compared to them, but those too end up down there someday. He should feel dead after all the centuries Herpeton drained his power, but he feels more alive than he ever has. He tears his face away from them and ascends towards Merwyn’s Veil.
The three of them are already there, ready to be sucked into the canvas. Mopsus doesn’t fear fault, as he knows any doubt would only cloud his power. Closing the door behind him, he closes his eyes, arms wide open as if in prayer, and the room is filled with silky black mist.
Aesalon, Fred and Cedric fall on a high platform, their eyes blinded by the brightness of this place. They stay bent with their hands on their knees until the feeling of being sucked into a ferocious vacuum passes away.
“Maestro. You’ve finally come to save us from Circe’s Den”
The three look up to see a courtyard full of people, men, women and kids, all either burnt, wounded or half-transformed into wolves or lions.
A/N: Hello all!
Disclaimer: Fred, Cedric, Harry and Ginny are all J.K. Rowling’s. Herpo, Merwyn, Mopsus and Aesalon are also hers (Taken from Harry Potter Wiki). They’re all from Ancient Greece. Herpo was the first ever to create a Horcrux and it’s about him that Slughorn tells Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Herpo is a Parselmouth and created the first Basilisk. Merwyn was responsible for many foul curses. (The bit about 533 Unforgivables was by me and not at all Canon) and is also from Wiki (He too is from Ancient Greece). Aesalon is from ancient Greece as well and was supposedly the first recorded Animagus, being able to transform into a Falcon at will. (Harry Potter Wiki). Mopsus however is known as a Seer in both Harry Potter Wiki and Greek Mythology. The bit about his predictions on Troy is believed myth (So is his opponent Calchas and his demise. He killed himself after being beaten by Mopsus). Circe is the Greek mythological Goddess of Magic (Daughter of Helios, God of the Sun). She is known in myth for her vast knowledge in herbs and potions, and for transforming her enemies into wolves and lions (And other animals). She uses a wand/staff and potions for this. She is also featured in DC comics. In Harry Potter Wiki she’s known to have transformed lost Sailors into pigs.
The idea of afterlives was inspired by “Run” by TourjoursPadfoot (It’s a fanfic and it’s here! If you haven’t read it, you really really should) and the Charlie Parker Series by John Connolly (This author is the bomb!)
Claimer: Everything else is mine. The idea of a deeper consciousness, power of the mind, controlling universes and power integrating with the Veil are a result of my habitual studies on the theories of illuminati, study of Alchemy and Quantum Physics. All of the poems/prophesies/verses are mine.
So now to the story. If you have any questions, or if there were any parts that were not clear, please let me know and I’ll clear it up as best as I can. But if you’re wondering, Mopsus stayed behind to look for his daughter. Herpo couldn’t do anything to Fred and Cedric while they were good because of the Unbreakable Vow. That’s how they could wander around easily, adding the fact that Aesalon was watching over them.
Please do let me know what you think of it. Any review is highly appreciated.
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